PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - If you’re trying to score last-minute tickets to concerts and sporting events on places like Craigslist, the Fox 12 investigators have a consumer warning for you.
When Cindy Schwager and her husband saw a Craigslist post for Blazers Tickets, they immediately contacted the seller.
“We asked him, 'do you still have the tickets?'” said Schwager. “He said yes.”
The seller then asked them to pay for the tickets by using a money transferring app called Zelle.
“My husband said, 'well, what’s Zelle?'” said Schwager.
A quick Google search showed Schwager that Zelle is associated by many big banks, including hers.
So with just a cell phone and a few clicks, Schwager and her husband paid the person $260 through the app.
“So we didn’t hear from him for like ten minutes and I said 'oh boy,'” said Schwager.
When Schwager and her husband tried to call the seller, their number had been blocked.
“It’s just a sick feeling,” said Schwager.
Schwager said she would soon find out what many unsuspected buyers have before her, she wouldn’t be getting her money back from her bank.
“Because what happens is you’re authorizing the transaction of funds so because you’re doing that, they won’t refund you the money and you know, scammers know that,” said Portland Police Officer, Joseph Cox.
Officer Cox said he sees these types of scams on Craigslist all the time, especially when there’s a big event in town.
“I’ve seen anything from $100, $150 and I had a case where like $20,000 a woman lost,” said Officer Cox.
And a look on Craigslist by the Fox 12 Investigators, shows just how many people are falling for these scams, often posting warnings to other buyers after it happens and telling them to not pay with apps like Venmo or Zelle.
“It’s not fun to make a purchase for something and all of a sudden not receive it and because it’s done online, it’s a lot more difficult for us to conduct an investigation,” said Officer Cox.
Officer Cox also said apps like Zelle and Venmo are meant to send money to family and friends, not strangers.
Schwager said she and her husband are now spending time on Craigslist warning others.
“Buyer beware,” read Schwager from one of husband's posts. “Anyone purchasing tickets, don’t use Venmo or Zelle. Don’t fall for the good deal from the scammers. They will steal your money and there is no recourse from your bank. We know.”
Schwager also said she won’t try and buy tickets from another person online again.
“Me personally, when it comes to a concert or Blazers tickets, I’m going to just have to go somewhere legit,” said Schwager. “And Craigslist, my husband always calls it, you know, it’s the Wild Wild West.”
Portland police do have some tips when it comes to buying tickets off Craigslist, like meeting someone in person if possible.
If for some reason you can’t, they recommend using services like PayPal instead of apps, because it at least has some type of seller protection.
If you are scammed, police said to still give them a call and file a report.
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