Every summer we tend to hear of similar stories of people looking for inexpensive family vacations that have found themselves victims of fraud. This year a number of families have reported purchasing online tickets to theme and adventure parks for a discounted rate. When they arrive at the theme or adventure park they find out that the tickets they have purchased are not valid. Not only is the family generally embarrassed, but in many cases their family vacation has been ruined.
What typically has happened is that the tickets were originally purchased with a stolen credit card. The fraudster then sells the tickets at a “discounted” rate to the victims, soon after purchasing them with the stolen credit card. Within a day or so from the initial sale the theme/adventure park realizes that the tickets were purchased with a stolen credit card. The tickets are then flagged as being invalid or stolen.
How to protect yourself:
Know the source. Only purchase tickets from reputable or legitimate ticket vendors. Check with BBB to find out which ticket vendors have the best reputation and which do not.
Be cautious. Use extreme caution when buying tickets from anywhere other than the direct sales point (i.e. the theme park itself), especially if the tickets are being flaunted as being sold at a discount or reduced rate.
Do your research. If you wish to purchase reduced rate tickets from an independent third party, ask the person selling the tickets to provide you with the ticket numbers before you purchase them. Contact the theme/adventure park and ask them if they can run the ticket numbers through their system to confirm their validity before you purchase them. Ask them for tips on how to identify whether or not the tickets you wish to purchase are legitimate (i.e are their identifying marks, can tickets be transferred to other people etc). Be careful though as it is still a possibility that the tickets are faked or that by the time you use them they will be tagged invalid.
For more information and live weekly updates on frauds affecting Vancouver Island visit the News Centre at vi.bbb.org; fraudcast.ca; twitter.com/VIBBB; facebook.com; linkedin.com