Scammer Selling Fake Wizards Playoff Tickets Arrested – Heads Up for others like Him


“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to let you know about a fraud case I was involved in earlier today. I met someone from Craigslist at 1pm and purchased two tickets to Friday nights Wizards game. I met the kid at the foggy bottom metro station. As I was walking back to the office, I realized that I had been scammed. So I emailed him from a different email account and pretended to be a different person. He agreed to sell me the exact same tickets that I had just bought. So I called the police and officer G Burgess came and met me. Then we got a plain clothes officer to meet us and they arrested him. The guy is 17 years old and going to be tried as a juvenile. He was taken to juvenile processing.

Apparently, he handed off the $300 I gave him immediately after I paid him. So by the time he was arrested, he didn’t have the money. Here are pictures of what the tickets look like that he sold me.

Someone has now posted a warning message letting people know that they ONLY have electronic tickets to the playoff games and that anyone who tries to sell hard tickets is scamming you.

Craigslist Ads examples (PDF) all from same person.”

Heads up to others buying tickets off Craigslist.

26 Comment

  • Can you describe the guy?

  • Wow, seriously impressed by the police (and you) for handling this one so effectively!

  • How did you realize the tickets were fake?

  • That was really smart of you. I 1) probably wouldn’t realize the ticket was fake and 2) would probably roll over and feel like a victim. Good for you!

    • +1. Props to the OP for having the presence of mind to set up a sting operation!
      OP, you mention that the kid had already handed off the $300 you gave him by the time the cops got him… so I guess he must’ve been working in concert with someone else? Hoping he’ll spill the beans to the police.

  • Wow, nice move. DCPD should hire you!

  • Looks like someone got a hold of blank Ticketmaster ticket stock. Hope whichever Ticketmaster outlet employee gave them that stock is lawyered up, as the stock is numbered and traceable, and TM does NOT mess around with this (happened at an outlet I worked at years ago). They will put the hammer down, and put money into figuring out who did this.

    How can you tell? Easy. The tickets are printed on heat-sensitive paper; if you have one handy notice that the writing is not in toner, but actually burned into the ticket. Most counterfeits are laser-printed, so the lettering is slightly raised.

    • Wow, that’s amazing. I just figured the kid scanned & photoshopped some old tickets he had, and laser printed them on slightly thicker paper. Crime don’t pay, chilluns!

  • Also, AMEX cards have 15 digits, this card receipt has 12 * and 4 numbers. Congrats on a solid operation and go Wiz!

  • Can I ask how OP figured out he was scammed so quickly?

  • Oh, and by the way: “No person shall sell or offer to sell tickets from the sidewalks, streets, or public spaces anywhere in the District of Columbia for any excursion, theatrical performance, opera, ball game, or any entertainment of any kind.” The penalty is a fine up to $300 or up to 90 days in prison.

    • But there’s a half dozen men selling tickets right in front of the Verizon Center at every game! The police are around and nothing happens. I’ve never understood this?

      • I imagine it’s conflict of motivations. The law is on the books because entertainment industry lobbied city counsel to pass it as an economically protectionist measure. But, cops hanging around the games mostly care about protecting the public welfare, i.e. crowd control and keeping people from getting robbed/hurt. In short, it’s low on the enforcement priority for police.

        • Didn’t Raj get arrested for trying to scalp Stevie Wonder tickets on What’s Happening!?

          • Dunno….but pretty much remember Re-run getting busted for trying to tape record a live Dobie Brothers concert. Think it was the trench coat (and the fact that he dropped the tape recorder right in front of the band) that gave him away. Poor Re-run. Turrable….

    • Pretty sure there is a loophole. If I remember correctly, two parties to such a transaction can enter a private business nearby and complete the transaction and be completely within their rights to do so. I think I read this in the Post one year when the ACC Championship game was in town.

  • I was sold fake playoff tickets years ago – it really sucks, especially when you’re out hundreds of dollars in cash. Tickets are easy to get on Stubhub – I wonder why OP just didn’t buy tickets off that site? Their tickets are guaranteed, so if they are fake, Stubhub will make good on it. The transaction fees are a pain, but if you’re paying hundreds of dollars for tickets, I think the fee is worth it. Oh, and it’s a good bet that if the price asked for playoff tickets is less than face value, they are likely fake (unless you buy them off the street as you’re walking into the game).

    • Yeah, but you have to pay a hefty premium for that so called guarantee. stubhub charges A LOT to both the seller and buyer. It’s generally more economical if you use a site like Craigslist. Plus, all of the money from the transaction stays local instead of going to the giant, faceless corporation stubhub. Isn’t that what all the kids want these days? Local?

      • way to miss the point.

      • Stub Hub doesn’t charge A LOT. They charge a percentage. I sold $35 tickets online last week for $41 a piece. $6 per ticket isn’t A LOT when you know your seats are guaranteed. Plus, I had problems with tickets I purchased once and they took care of it for me without hassle (someone sold the digital tix online AND the paper tix in person. Stub Hub digital tix overrule the paper tix so we won the seats, AND they gave us $75 for our troubles.)

    • I use SeatGeek now. It’s awesome.

  • I was sold bad tickets (computer print out) by a scalper at the Wiz game a few weeks ago. Tell me if you guys think this was a scam…

    I paid the guy $140 cash (mostly 20s) for a pair. We walked to gate and I handed him the money right before we walked in. My buddy got scanned, told the tickets were fake. We went outside, and I quickly found the scalper inside the Dunkin Donuts and asked for my money back.

    He seemed surprised and offered me the cash back. But here is the rub: he pulled out a wad of cash and asked how much I gave him. Two $100s are at the top and he asks “Was it $240?” Mind you this sale happened within the last few minutes.

    I told him, no, that it was only $140, and he flipped the wad over and I recognized a separate stack of the money I gave him. I took the money back and we went our separate way.

    I came to think that there was a foiled scam (it was too easy to find him) that would have involved me taking the $240 in bad $100 bills. Just a thought.

    Anyway, be careful folks. These computer tix make it so easy to be had by dishonest people.

    • What an idiot! Getting arrested by MPD for scalping is probably not a big deal for someone who regularly has run-ins with the law. But trying to pass counterfeit bills as well is a whole other level of federal pain.
      Also, I’m really surprised security didn’t confiscate the fake tickets at the gate when you tried to use them.

  • vile people are… vile.

  • First comment didn’t go through, but it’s important to note that scalping is not currently illegal. That was part of the oversight in the vending regs re-write of 2013. Councilmember Orange had a hearing last week on proposed fixes to the amendments, which would include making sales on public property illegal again as well as adding criminal penalties back into the vending law. This guy was breaking the law by selling fraudulent tickets, not by selling tickets in and of itself. But, the MPD loves to muddle the issue by acting like the actual written law doesn’t matter.

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