Buyer Beware: Investigating a Super Bowl ticket scam

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Posted: Wed. Jan 31, 2018 9:23 a.m.

By: Andy Slater

A Super scam ruined the big game for one South Florida football fan, hoping to have a dream trip with his friends.

Eric Hess of Hollywood, FL found what he thought were three tickets to the Super Bowl LII on Craigslist.  He and his friends have Philadelphia ties and wanted to have a chance to see the Eagles win their first Super Bowl.

The tickets were listed at $1,000 each by "Melissa" who was using a Minneapolis area code. 

Hess paid a deposit of half the money through Zelle, a popular banking app. 

The money was sent to an email that "Melissa" said was linked to a Bank of America account.

The seller then vanished.

The buyer was out $1,500.

When Hess told me about the incident, I decided to replicate the purchase from the same seller by posing as a potential buyer.

The seller and I began to exchange text messages. 

I agreed to pay $3,600 for tickets, more than the listed price, and was given the same email as Hess that "Melissa" said was linked to a Bank of America account.

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I wanted to speak to "Melissa" before I sent the money. 

It was obvious that phone call was never coming. 

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Instead of speaking to me on the phone, "Melissa" offered to share her LinkedIn page with me.

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After contacting the real Melissa through her page, it was evident that Hess was not the only victim.

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The real Melissa told me via phone that almost a dozen people have contacted her to check on the legitimacy of the Craigslist ad before sending any money. She warned all of them it was fake and not to send anything. 

But who knows how many people did send money and have been victimized by this scam? 

I contacted Bank of America to verify that the email address was connected to one of their accounts.

A Bank of America spokesman said "we contacted [Mr. Hess] and are looking into this matter."

Hess tells me that he did get a phone call on Monday.

Would a bank continue to allow money to be transferred to a customer's account under these circumstances?

"They said I would get a letter in the mail in the next few days and there'd be some kind of outcome within 45 days or so," Hess said. "Banks have made people believe transactions using Zelle are secure, but obviously they're not. Based on what I was told, I don't think I am getting my money back."

With such high demand for tickets between the Patriots and Eagles, this should serve as a good reminder to be careful where you buy your tickets.

If anyone wants to help an Eagles fan score legitimate seats, let me know. 

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