Music fans claim to have lost thousands in online ticket scam
Young Australians claim they have been scammed out of hundreds of dollars by an alleged Facebook fraudster.
Victims on a chat group seen by 9news.com.au claim to have collectively lost thousands to the same man who claims to be selling tickets to sold-out events.
University student Sophie Owen, 18, said she lost her life savings in the scam.
“It was all of my saving pretty much,” she said.
Ms Owen placed an ad on Gumtree looking for tickets to Brisbane’s Listen Out festival in August.
She said she was contacted by a man using the name Steven Smith, who chatted via text with her boyfriend Samuel Bodenmann.
The pair decided to trust Mr Smith after he texted a photo, seen by 9news.com.au, of himself holding a Medicare card, two forms of ID and a personalised note.
Ms Owen transferred $300 to Mr Smith via cardless cash with the promise the tickets would be transferred once the money had arrived.
However once the cash was sent through, Ms Owen claims he cut contact and blocked her number.
The couple later realised Mr Smith’s Medicare and photo card were expired.
Ms Owen reported the incident online and in person to police, ACORN, Scam Alert, the ACCC, and Crimestoppers.
Copies of the reports have been viewed by 9news.com.au.
A spokesperson from NSW Police confirmed reports had been received and were being investigated.
Rachel Hillary says she was similarly scammed out of $180 trying to buy tickets for R&B artist Miguel in Melbourne via Facebook Marketplace, which she never received.
She said was suspicious of the scammer’s profile at first, but the ID photos convinced her to trust him.
“The conversation flowed really easily, I thought this guy was legit,” Ms Hillary said.
Ms Hillary took action, posting warnings across Facebook and getting in contact with other victims of the scam.
“It snowballed into a giant thing,” she said.
“More and more victims are coming forward. I get two to four messages from people every single week with similar stories.”
She has spoken with almost 60 victims via a Facebook chat group who have corroborated evidence and shared photos of the same man.
Ms Hillary claims the man is continuing to con people, using a variety of Facebook accounts to advertise tickets to events including indie rock band Sticky Fingers and RnB Fridays.
9news.com.au have attempted to contact the man.
NSW police warned scammers use high-pressure situations to con people into transferring money.
“Scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot,” a spokesperson said.
Scamwatch reports Australians lost $340 million to scammers in 2017.
It is the highest amount recorded since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity, and $40 million more than 2016.
To avoid falling victim to scams, a spokesperson from Consumers Affairs Victoria said awareness was key.
“Be alert to the fact that scams exist… Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”