Cheap Tickets: How Not to Get Scammed

A true story about buying cheap tickets for events reveals a scam most people don’t know about: Internet ScamBusters #195

Internet ScamBusters™
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
Issue #195


Today’s issue is called “Cheap Tickets: How Not to Get Scammed.
We share an interesting experience from a friend who
witnessed a common cheap tickets scam.

In addition, we want to alert you to a new trend: private debt
collectors are starting to collect delinquent taxes from US
taxpayers. We’ll briefly discuss why many experts are

However, before we begin today’s article on cheap tickets, we
first encourage you to take a look at this week’s most popular
articles from our other sites:

What You Need to Know If You Are Considering a Balance Transfer

What You Should Know About Web Hosting

Hiring Household Help: An Agency or An Ad?

Can Someone Steal Your Email to Send Spam?

Let’s get started…

Cheap Tickets: How Not to Get Scammed

We want to share a story about a common scam related to buying
cheap tickets that most people don’t know about — so you don’t
get taken by this cheap tickets scam.

(Note: This article has nothing to do with,
which is a very good travel website we have personally used.)

The true story comes from our friend Steve:

— Begin Steve’s true cheap tickets story —

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I decided to take the kids
to Six Flags since summer vacation was almost over and we
hadn’t used our passes much this year.

If you have children, you know how special a day at the
amusement park can be. You don’t want anything ruining it, and
you definitely don’t want it to turn into a lesson about the
uglier things in life.

The Six Flags near us costs about $40 per person just to get in
the door, close to $100 per person for a season pass and an
extra $15 a day for parking (unless you pay an extra $60 for
the season parking pass).

As we walked up to the gate area, a woman came up to us and
asked us if we wanted to buy tickets from her for $20. We have
season tickets so we simply said no and walked away.

Unfortunately, someone else she hit wasn’t as lucky.

To understand what we saw, I first have to explain how the Six
Flags near us is set up. The people who need to buy tickets
stand in line to pay the cashier. The people who already have
tickets or a season pass get into another line to go through a
metal detector.

On this particular day, the metal detector lines were

As we were getting close to the front of our line, I noticed a
commotion going on in the line next to us. It appeared that
someone was trying to get into the park with counterfeit
tickets. As I got closer, I saw a gentleman with his girlfriend
and he was trying to explain that he bought the tickets from a
woman who had been standing in front of the park.

Being a curious individual, I couldn’t help but listen as the
man pled his case, and as he started describing the woman, I
realized it was the very same woman who had asked us if we
wanted to buy tickets!

To the horror of my kids, I got out of line (they thought we’d
have to go back to the end) and started explaining to the
security officer that the man was telling the truth and that
the woman he was describing had also asked me if I wanted to
buy tickets. It was at that point that the police were called.

I had to answer some questions since I had also seen the woman
and it took about an hour before my family and I were able to
go into the park. Needless to say, when everything was over and
we actually got into the park, the kids started asking

All at once I was asked why the police were there, why the man
was yelling, why an adult would lie, and my four-year-old
wanted to know why the police didn’t ask Wonder Woman to catch
the bad lady. (Wonder Woman was at Six Flags in costume.)

My kids eventually stopped asking questions and started
enjoying the games and the rides, but I know they haven’t
forgotten the incident. Yesterday my mother-in-law took my
daughter to a movie and when they got home my mother-in-law
told me that my daughter had asked the girl at the ticket
counter if the movie tickets were real.

When I explained what had happened to my mother-in-law, she
told me the same thing had happened to one of her associates –
at an opera of all places.

After doing a little research, I discovered that this really
isn’t an uncommon occurrence. In fact, it appears to happen

Anywhere tickets are sold, there may be scammers lurking –
trying to con people out of their hard-earned money.

So the moral of the story is this…

If you see someone selling tickets outside of a movie theater,
a concert, a performance theater, an amusement park, a zoo or
any other event or attraction that requires a ticket to get in,
think VERY carefully before you buy the ticket, no matter how
cheap it is.

After all, if you pay $20 for a $40 ticket and the ticket’s
counterfeit, you’re really losing $20 instead of saving it.

— End Steve’s true cheap tickets story —

Summary: buying cheap tickets (or expensive tickets, for that
matter) outside of events can be an expensive mistake.

This is one of many reasons that ticket scalping is illegal.

Private debt collectors start collecting delinquent taxes from US taxpayers

The IRS has hired private debt collectors to begin collecting
delinquent taxes from 12,500 US taxpayers, who each owe $25,000
or less in back taxes.

This is the first step in a broader initiative to outsource the
collection of smaller tax debts to private collection companies.

Experts have several concerns, including:

  • It is much more expensive than IRS debt collections.
  • There is a greater chance that debtors will be conned by scam
    artists using phishing and other scams when private companies
    are in the mix.

  • Taxpayer rights may be at risk with privatization, since
    private firms are much more concerned with maximizing profit
    than safeguarding taxpayer rights.

Most people do not know about this new program. Given the
recent trends and abuses in private debt collection that we
wrote about a few months ago, as well as the other concerns the
experts have expressed, we find this trend quite disturbing.

In fact, private debt collection firms have been known to be
overly aggressive, even harrassing the wrong people.

For more info about these new trends in debt collection, click here.

Time to wrap up for today — have a great week!