Shake it off? Sault woman scammed trying to buy Taylor Swift tickets

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‘Everything seemed to be legit’: Local mother who lost $1,200 in a Facebook ticket fraud is telling her story in the hopes of warning others

Not in her wildest dreams did a Sault woman ever think she would fall victim to a ticket scam.

Debbie F. — who agreed to share her story with SooToday on the condition that her last name not be published — is out $1,200 after she attempted to purchase tickets for one of Taylor Swift’s sold-out concerts in Toronto next year.

The local mother was scrolling through social media last Friday when she read a post in one of the Sault’s community Facebook pages that an older woman was re-selling four tickets at face value. 

“I sent them a message and asked if she still had the tickets available, and the person replied that she did,” she told SooToday. “I was so excited over the fact that the tickets were that cheap. I thought it would have been a wonderful gift for my daughter.”

Debbie says the seller — whose Facebook page says she lives in Ottawa but has family photos from the Sault — had sent her a picture of the Ticketmaster link and the seats that were purchased in an effort to verify the sale.  

“I asked her if I could FaceTime with her to make sure she was real,” she said. “I didn’t want to be taken advantage of. But she said she wasn’t able to because she was at work.”

“They also told me they ended up selling one of the tickets and only had three left.”

Sensing something might be off, Debbie went through the seller’s Facebook profile.

“This woman must have originally been from the Sault,” she explained. “She has photos taken out in Gros Cap, and there’s comments from family and friends. Everything seemed to be legit because I was able to see her photos going back years.”

When Debbie asked why they were offering the Taylor Swift tickets for face value, when most are resold for thousands, the seller mentioned they only wanted to get back what they paid for because their family member was sick and needed help with medical costs.

“This person was pretty convincing,” she said. “Her grammar and everything were right up to part. I thought she was originally going to take her grandkids to see Taylor Swift.”

The seller provided their email address, and Debbie e-transferred the $1,200.

“She asked me if I received the confirmation email yet, and I said ‘no, it hasn’t come through.’ She said, ‘as soon as you send me a picture of the confirmation email, I’ll automatically transfer the tickets over to you.’ Well, the confirmation email of the auto deposit came through, I took a picture and sent it, and had no tickets.”

“She said she was transferring the tickets, but ten minutes later, they came back online and said there’s a glitch and that the internet is down. She said the same thing happened earlier with the other person she sold to, and that it took about a half an hour.”

Forty-five minutes later, the seller claimed the internet was still down. After realizing she was scammed, Debbie was blocked minutes later and couldn’t send any more messages.

A short time later, she made contact with the fraud department at her bank. Because Debbie put in the email address herself and it was an auto-deposit, there was nothing the bank could do.

“They were able to tell me the name of the bank it got deposited into, and we have no such bank in North America,” she said. “They believe the money was deposited to Thailand or Australia because the bank is called Neo Money.”

After Debbie’s daughter attempted to reach out to the scammer, they claimed they never received a confirmation email to prove the money was sent, and she was soon blocked as well.

“I was saving that money over the last year and a half for my daughter’s graduation,” she said. “I just wanted to surprise the daylights out of her when she saw the tickets. She would have been over the moon if she opened it up at Christmas time. She’s feeling so bad for me.”

When SooToday reached out to the scammer on Facebook, the person attempted to sell us the same four tickets they offered to Debbie.

“If I am selling the ticket to you, it will be personal, do you understand now,” they wrote. “If you are interested let me know because someone chat me up for the ticket.”

The scammer claimed they were unavailable for a phone call because they were at work, the same excuse provided to Debbie this past weekend.

“They seemed so legitimate and the only thing I can think of is the actual person on that account has been hacked,” Debbie said. “I don’t even think the poor woman knows she was hacked.”

It was a cruel summer for many “Swifties” as similar scams have been reported dozens of times across the country in recent months — many of them much more costly than $1,200.

Feeling embarrassed by the ordeal, Debbie is hopeful her story will prevent someone else from making a similar mistake.

“I just hope this saves someone from falling into the same trap,” she said. “I’m really disappointed for my kids.”

To learn more about how to identify a scam, click here.

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