A recent USA Today online article (link at the bottom of this content) reports that Dawn Bliler bought Disneyland tickets online for an incredible discount, then booked two days and nights at a nice hotel. She, her husband and preschooler looked so much forward to this dream trip. But it never happened. The tickets were worthless.
Bliler and at least a dozen other victims of this scam ended up with fake or previously used tickets. Victims didn’t learn they were taken till they were at Disneyland’s gates. The victims were out not just a few hundred dollars for the fraudulent tickets, but for having spent hotel and travel costs-for nothing.
The tickets were sold on Craigslist by suspects Jessica (or Jazlyn) Melendez and her crime partner, Israel. The rip-off price for a ticket to Anaheim’s two Disney parks was $120, which was $90 less than the actual adult price.
Bliler had purchased off of Craigslist before and even knew about the possibility of scams. She met in person a woman-allegedly Jazlyn/Jessica-to buy (for $300) the tickets, which were merely color copies of real tickets. Bliler also received e-copies of the fake tickets and a receipt showing that the tickets had been bought at an AAA office, creating the illusion that the transaction was authentic.
Tips for Avoiding Ticket Scams
Ticket scams are as old as the hills and easy to pull off. I’m a security analyst and I offer these tips and you won’t be conned:
- · Buy directly either from the box office, the attraction’s official ticket exchange, or any major brand or website that specializes in ticket sales.
- · If you find yourself purchasing from a reseller, do not hand over any money until that person escorts you to the attraction’s gate, where the ticket/s can be confirmed by a ticketing agent.
- · Be prudent when buying off of Craigslist. A ticket can appear to be very real, right down to its watermark and barcode. It’s not real till the ticket agent scans it at the gate and confirms validity.
- · Be suspicious if a deal sounds too good to be true. Why would $90 be slashed off Disney’s going rate? How would the seller make a profit by doing this? Unless…the ticket is fake.
Most ticket sales, however, are not scams.
Most online ticket sellers are legit, and many use device reputation technology that can trace the computers and other relevant devices connected to fraudulent ticket sales-at the very point of sale. The technology intercepts transactions on the spot, blocking scammers and sparing damage to consumers.
Nevertheless, sometimes you just need to use good ol’ fashioned common sense to avoid a ticket selling scam.