Are Your Olympics Tickets Real? Are You SURE? Internet Scam Bilks Thousands

Think you have tickets to exciting events in Beijing next week? Pray hard. Because with today’s photocopying technology, it’s awfully hard to tell the real ones from the ones that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

(And, of course, the look-and-feel test only comes into play if you actually have some physical tickets. Some scam artists don’t bother to print them: They just collect your thousands of dollars and tell you to “pick the tickets up in Beijing.”)

Gullible buyers worldwide are being taken to the cleaners by fake Olympics tickets sites. If you’re one of them, you won’t know for sure until you get there. And if it turns out that you have, in fact, paid thousands of dollars to watch the event in a bar near the stadium, there’s nothing the Olympics people can do for you.

Here’s one suggestion, though: Assuming fake Olympics tickets are as good as other fake stuff available in China, you might just be able to fool the ticket-takers, too. So just make sure you get to the stadium before the poor sap who has the real thing. Reuters:

Sports fans around the world have been swindled by an international Internet scam which offered thousands of bogus tickets for the Beijing Games, Olympic officials said on Monday. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it was taking action to shut down the fraudsters, but the move came too late to help the victims find replacement seats at the Games.

Among those left out of pocket were the families of Olympic athletes in both Australia and New Zealand, with people in the United States, Japan, Norway, China and Britain also reportedly conned by the sophisticated sting…

[A] U.S. lawyer who said he had lost $12,000 in the fraud, accused the IOC of complacency.

“They have known about these sites for months and months and did nothing,” said Jim Moriarty, the partner of a Houston-based law firm which is looking to represent fellow victims in any subsequent legal actions.

“They have dashed the hopes and dreams of thousands of people who have been planning for years to go the Games, and have already paid thousands of dollars for airfare and what they thought were legitimate tickets,” he told Reuters.

Despite last week’s IOC suit, one of the sites accused of fraud — — was still operating on Monday, offering seats for numerous events, including Friday’s opening ceremony, with prices topping $2,150.

The professional-looking site, which carries the official Beijing Games logo, provides a London phone number, which rang dead on Monday, and a U.S. address in Phoenix, Arizona.

See Also: Three Days and Counting Until NBC Blows Coverage of Olympics

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