You could be forgiven for hoping that after all we’ve been through of late, misanthropic behaviour might not rear its head for at least a few more months. We haven’t seen our fellow humans in a year, why would we want to stooge them? But alas, dear reader, that would mean underestimating mankind’s obsession with greed, a mistake that’s as rookie to make in 2021 as it probably was in 21BCE.
In a recent post, Australian touring powerhouse Destroy All Lines highlighted that their forthcoming event, Full Tilt Brisbane, had already caught the attention of ticket scammers. Full Tilt is set to be part of the initial wave of live events since the pandemic onset, proving that scammers – a vague term that for the purpose of this article describes any attempt to use nefarious methods to take someone’s money – have exactly zero chill when it comes to scamming.
By now, we all know not to engage with ticket resellers on ViaGoGo, which allows sellers to inflate the price of tickets, despite it now being back in Google’s good graces. But what of the milieu of individual resellers, the type to comment on an event page imploring you to purchase their no-longer-needed tickets? Unfortunately, many aspiring ticket holders, caught in the throes of moving heaven and earth to see their favourite artist, might not notice the red flags of such situations through their rose-coloured glasses.
To help save you the headache, and some of your much needed ticket-buying cash, Blunt Magazine got into the mud to fuck with some ticket scammers so you didn’t have to, in the hopes of providing at least a basic litmus test to determine if you’re wandering into a trap.
To avoid encouraging mob mentality, we’ve removed last names, profile pictures and avoided listing specific locations. This is merely a helpful guide, not a hitlist.
Shit ticket scammers say without saying a word
You may experience some sort of Uncanny Valley effect when scrolling through the comment section of an event page. That’s because 95% of the accounts posting are fake, and have been created by jacking names and images from people the scammers believe to be attractive and trustworthy faces. To wit, you’re looking at a comment section that’s unnaturally aesthetically pleasing. Once scammers have taken someone’s Facebook identity, they’ll block that person, preventing them from ever finding out.
By flicking on a VPN, scammers are able to find both events and profiles to plunder in locations all over the world.
More often than not, you’ll be able to identify a ticket scammer without even speaking with them. Let’s look at Liam. You’ll find Liam* in the event discussion page for Festival of The Sun looking to get three tickets off his hands.
Liam* has posted the same comment several times and, interestingly enough, every comment posted from this account is followed by a comment from a different account, with a different name, that posts the same comment, regarding the same three tickets, verbatim – even down to the odd choice of emojis. See for yourself:
The fact that Liam* was good enough to include his current location as Illinois, USA is a red hot giveaway that no, he is not actually holding tickets to a boutique festival happening in Port Macquarie that he suddenly found no use for.
Thanks for saving us the DM, Liam*. Always remember to look at the re-seller’s location.
Shit ticket scammers say mid-conversation
People say and do weird stuff when money is involved, so there’s no hard and fast rule to judging someone by their text-based communication. Having said that, it’s safe to say that there are some recurring themes with the dialogue you’ll have with a ticket scammer. For one, offering a non-specific amount of tickets.
We received this message worded in various ways from numerous certified scam accounts, but for today’s class we’ll focus on the one we received from Vicky*.
On account of not actually having any tickets, what they’re selling is the expectation of a product, and therefore, can sell as much as they damn well please. While it’s possible someone would be willing to break up their cache of tickets and get left with unsold ones, Vicky had posted to multiple events in multiple cities looking to also sell tickets to those events. In fact, Vicky* is so prolific that there are multiple posts warning about their scamming ways. Which we brought up with them:
Upon forwarding some of these cautionary posts, we were immediately blocked. A genuine seller will understand your trepidation, and not walk away from a sale purely for a buyer doing their due diligence. As we learned, a re-seller as prolific as Vicky* would do just the opposite.
As we would discover the deeper we dove, scammers tend to operate in groups, manning multiple fake accounts. In some cases, they will actually legitimately purchase tickets to an event. However, only to get the designs, fonts, etc. Common practice is to buy three or four, then re-sell those three of four to fifty people.
Another motif in the back and forth with scammers is their eagerness to show proof. To an unassuming buyer, this would be a relief but really, they’re fucking with you. This is the ‘proof’ you’ll get sent, as we did from *Paschal, also lurking in the comments of a Hands Like Houses event page:
This is proof of nothing. Paschal* was an interesting case. They told us they were based in Melbourne, but a cursory glace of the profile showed engagement with specifically and exclusively accounts located in a country some several hundred thousand kilometres away from where the show would take place. We thought we’d ask Paschal* about his proximity to the venue. They got quite out of joint, before issuing a disgruntled response (in the language spoken from their foreign location).
Which leads us to our final segment…
Shit ticket scammers say when you call them out for being ticket scammers
All of the above were eventually called out on what they were doing by us in one way or another, but to really drive home the point of what a scammer will do when you approach them about their scamming ways, let’s look at *Irene.
That is a fair question, considering just how many events Irene* has posted to attempting to sell “tickets”. We found her posts on an In Hearts Wake event, an EDM New Years Day Festival and Festival of The Sun. There were more, but you get the point…
After making Irene* sweat just a little watching her work out which event we were asking about, we brought it home. And well, lo and behold…
So what’s the takeaway from all of this, other than the fact that scammers have zero chill? We learn that the ticket re-selling market is riddled with fraud; egregious fraud. Monica*, a senior citizen (per the profile image) it seems was incredibly motivated to re-sell tickets to In Hearts Wake after her also senior citizen husband (also in the profile image) realised they couldn’t make it. We have no doubt that they couldn’t, considering that they recently checked into a Northern Hemisphere location.
The bottom line? Sign up to mailing lists, set reminders and alarms – be prepared and ready to get your tickets from the primary seller. But, if you do find yourself delving into the secondary ticketing market; be careful, read the fine print, compare information with the primary seller, don’t accept pressure from a reseller and accept that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.