More than a week after a Vancouver couple was charged with fraud for selling thousands of fake tickets to entertainment events, the Victoria Police Department is close to catching another person allegedly responsible for selling hundreds of fake tickets across the country.
“That suspect is in Canada, not necessarily in British Columbia, is transient in nature, so they live in different communities across Canada and then move on and applies their trade to the Internet,” said Detective Sgt. Derek Tolmie, in charge of financial crimes.
The department has identified multiple victims across Canada who have purchased phoney tickets from the individual.
The investigation began last year when two Victoria residents filed a complaint with the department after they were sold fake tickets to a popular concert.
According to Tolmie, the case is very similar to the one in Vancouver, but noted they are not related.
The person posted the tickets online, potential buyers contacted the scammer, negotiated deals, then buyers would send them money.
“The person never sent them the tickets, so they were out a few hundred dollars,” he said. “These people know what they’re doing and they’re good at what they do. They have the stories and excuses [not to meet up]. The person who is the subject of our investigation — I saw the email correspondence, they were good.”
Since the first couple came forward, detectives have identified other victims of the same scammer.
Tolmie wouldn’t specify which events the person sold fake tickets for, but said they were for “popular in-demand venues.”
He refrained from giving details so the suspect isn’t tipped off.
Police have recommended to crown prosecutors laying charges of fraud over $5,000.
The biggest challenge in the case is jurisdictional boundaries.
“Everybody who gets involved with buying tickets on the Internet, it’s always in the back of your mind ‘oh, is this a scam?’ Well chances are, they’re in that mind set because it happens so much,” Tolmie said. “The number one thing we can do is to educate people.”
Lacey Sheardown, director of marketing with UsedEverywhere.com, agrees.
“It’s a great service, but people just have to be very careful of it like with any other online purchase,” Sheardown said. “The nature of tickets allows scammers the opportunity to fool people.”