DO NOT Purchase Tickets at Tickets-Center.com! — Last week, this author had the great fun and privilege to attend a John Legend concert at Tanglewood in Western, Massachusetts. John is incredibly talented and the concert was so much fun! I happened to be sitting next to two women and struck up a conversation with them that began over our excitement to be at the concert. However, my conversation quickly became a shocker when I learned that they had paid more than FOUR times the cost of what the seats had cost me. My wife and I paid $79.50 per seat. They had paid $335.75 per seat, a total of $671.50 for their two tickets and they didn’t even know if they were going to get their digital tickets until hours earlier! When I inquired about how they had purchased their tickets, one of the women told me that in late July, after learning that John Legend would be coming to Tanglewood, she went onto Google and searched for Tanglewood. She found a website called Tickets-Center.com. (See screenshot below of this website taken on 9/5/23)
It’s important to note that Tickets-Center.com is not the official website for events at Tanglewood in Western Massachusetts. The official website for Tanglewood is either the BSO.org (Boston Symphony Orchestra) or Tanglewood.org (which takes you back to bso.org when purchasing tickets.) We wondered why the woman didn’t realize this and so we opened a Google search window ourselves and entered tickets to Tanglewood concerts. We saw the bso.org website in the returned links but we also saw more than 30 other ticket-selling websites, included more than 6 “Sponsored” (Google Ads) placed highest on the list of returned links. One of the names for a ticket-selling website even included the name Tanglewood in its domain name, but it wasn’t tanglewood.org. The language under some of the unofficial Tanglewood sites also used phrases like….
- Save Up To 10%
- No Service Fees On Our Tickets
- Save You 10% Over Our Major Competitor
- 100% Buyer Guarantee!
It all seemed very confusing, making it muddier to find the Tanglewood’s official ticket-selling website. We point this out because it made it easier for us to understand how this woman landed on Ticket-Center.com and why she paid more than four times what we paid for the same seats! But her ticket purchasing experience was also FAR MORE stressful, as we learned.
First of all, she told us that upon purchasing her tickets, the Tickets-Center.com website informed her that her credit card would not be charged until she received the digital tickets AND that her digital tickets were not guaranteed to be delivered until August 31, just 3 days before the concert! This obviously worried the woman. However, she seriously questioned her decision to use Tickets-Center.com when she discovered that her credit card was immediately charged the full $671.50! When August 31 came and went she still didn’t have her digital tickets! She went onto the Tickets-Center.com website and tried to reach someone using their chat feature. The person she texted with on the site assured her that her tickets were coming. But by the morning of the September 3 concert she still didn’t have them. Again she got on the chat window at Tickets-Center.com and demanded to have a phone number to speak with someone at this shady ticket-selling business. She finally spoke with a woman who told her that her tickets would be sent to her very shortly. At about 11 am on the morning of the concert she finally received her digital tickets but then discovered that they were NOT the seats she had originally selected. They were “comparable.” She and her friend had no choice but to drive the few hours to the concert venue, even though they now were concerned that Tickets-Center.com was a complete scam vendor and they might not get in with the tickets they received! Fortunately, they did get in but they told me that this experience was incredibly stressful and they were shocked at how cheap I had been able to get tickets through the official BSO.org website.
The phone number the woman had been given via the chat window for Tickets-Center.com was 800-833-7698 and when called, it displayed on her phone as a number for Tickets Center Third Party Resale. When we Googled that phone number the first link Google returned was for the website Pissed Computer. On Pissed Computer were 730 complaints against Tickets-Center.com, including people sharing that they had been sent the wrong tickets. Oddly, on August 24, a woman named Tracy gave this company a good review, saying…. “I didn’t receive my tickets when I was supposed to so called and live chatted with an agent. They made sure my tickets were resent and got them with hours left before our show. [Bold/underline emphasis from TDS, not the reviewer.] Thank you for your speedy service and nice customer service. I would use this company again.” We found that praise to be shocking because it sounded to us as though this company has a habit of NOT getting tickets to buyers until the last few hours, and they might be different seats than what was purchased. From our perspective, that fact doesn’t deserve praise for “speedy service and nice customer service” by any measure! The Pissed Computer website showed LOTS of complaints that tickets were delivered very late, or not at all, and were heavily overpriced.
Over 400 LOW ratings for Tickets-Center.com have been posted on TrustPilot.com, giving this company a 1.1 rating out of 5. There were 23 complaints about Tickets-Center.com on Scampulse.com. One of these from August 4 was a complaint in which the person realized that their tickets were sold at 4 times their value from the real cost. When the person asked for a refund and to cancel the purchase, Tickets-Center.com told them that refunds were not offered except in instances of death or serious illness. We then looked at the Better Business Bureau website for Tickets-Center.com and discovered that it is NOT a BBB Accredited business. It has a “C” rating (We were surprised and think this company deserves an “F” rating!) along with more than 3000 complaints in the last 3 years! Most importantly on the BBB website, there is an ALERT about Tickets-Center.com saying “CONSUMERS PLEASE RECOGNIZE THAT TICKETS-CENTER.com IS A THIRD PARTY RESELLER. The company is an event ticket broker. Tickets purchased through the website will be more than the ticket price shown on the stub.” Even Facebook has it’s own group that appears to have been started in 2020 calling “Tickets-Center.com a scam company.” They can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/p/Tickets-CenterCom-SCAM-100057543515439/
There are also lots of complaints posted on Reddit about Tickets-Center.com, with one man asking if it were possible to get his money back through his credit card company or getting help from his state Attorney General. (Both ideas seemed good to consider.)
There is a link at the bottom of the Tickets-Center.com website called reviews. When we opened it last week, it showed 8 reviews, 4 that were posted on sitejabber.com and 4 posted on ResellerRatings.com. We seriously question the legitimacy of these ratings!
First of all, when we visited the ResellerRatings.com page for Tickets-Center.com, we found 1,736 reviews with an average rating score of 1.43 out of 5 stars. A whopping 65% of star reviewers gave this company 1 star! When we used the “site” command in Google to search for the first listed quote from SiteJabber found on the Tickets-Center.com review page, Google found nothing! Google was not able to find this quote at all.
Given everything we learned about Tickets-Center.com, we can’t imagine why ANYONE would EVER purchase tickets through their service. We also don’t understand why this crappy company is still allowed to operate their scammy consumer practices without consequences! Chicago’s Channel 7 ABC Affiliate posted an article about the scam-like tactics used by Tickets-Center.com on June 30 earlier this summer. And sadly, given what we saw about the confusing ticket-selling landscape through our experimental Google search, it’s easy to see how someone could land on a scam-like ticket seller such as Tickets-Center.com. CAVEAT EMPTOR!
Online scams are the most reported type of crime. Most countries now state that between 20 to 50% of all crimes reported are related to online fraud. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as only 7% of all scam victims report the crime to law enforcement. With nearly $55 billion lost last year and more than 300 million consumers scammed fast action is required.
On October 18–19, 2023, the 4th Global Anti-Scam Summit (GASS) will take place. The goal of the GASS is to bring governments, consumer & financial authorities, law enforcement, brand protection agencies, and (cybersecurity) companies together to share knowledge and define joint actions to protect consumers from getting scammed.
In 2022, we had nearly 1,300 virtual guests and 120 physical participants from 70+ countries. This year the event will be organized hybrid again. Last year, we defined 10 Recommendations to Turn the Tide on Scams. This year, we will focus on further defining these solutions and showcasing the best practices from around the globe.
October 18-19 | Ramada by Wyndham Lisbon Hotel, Portugal & Online (Zoom)
Sneaky Scams Exposed! — See if you can spot all these popular scams of the week! Check out and protect yourself with this 100% FREE, all-in-one tool.
Pig Butchering and Facebook Recovery Code Scams — You’ve likely heard the expression “timing is everything.” (It’s also a song by country singer Garrett Hedlund.) In last week’s newsletter, we mentioned an outstanding and shocking article published by the BBC about Pig Butchering Scams. Two days later, I was targeted by a scam that was very likely a pig butchering scam. And it was very likely perpetrated by a Cambodian woman who was being forced to carry out the scam, as described in the BBC article! This reveal began when I received a random text from a woman who identified herself as “Rita” and thought she was texting a friend named John. But she texted my cell phone. I have received similar random “accidental” texts at least four times before from attractive Asian women in the last few months. I recognized each as a likely romance scammer but had no idea that this fraud was likely more complicated than that. I identified myself as “Todd”….
Why would an attractive, 32 year old single woman want to bother becoming friends with a random guy she meets by accidental text? We will all draw the same conclusion. However, last week I also attended an outstanding presentation titled “We Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Pig Butchering Scams” given by Erin West, the Cybercrime and Crypto Prosecutor for Santa Clara County’s REACT Task Force through the GASA weekly workshops. Erin’s presentation was excellent and she gave several examples of people who were “butchered” by these scams that began when they were accidentally contacted by a young Asian woman or man. After befriending a victim into a trusting relationship for weeks, the scammer will highly recommend investing in a digital coin. The victim will watch his/her investment grow, inviting even more investment. But, as you can guess, the fraud comes when the victim tries to cash out their earnings. The term “pig butchering” is born out of the fact that the scam team will cut up the victim from nose to tail to drain every cent they can get from the victim!
Rita asked my age and what I did for a living. I thought it would be fun to see her reaction when I told her that I investigate and report on fraud. She didn’t flinch. So I asked her how long SHE had been working romance scams. That’s when she responded in a language I didn’t recognize. At first I thought she was just swearing at me but Google translate told me otherwise. The language, according to Google, is Kmer. It is spoken mostly in Cambodia. Rita never answered my question….
I have tried 3 times over 3 days to ask Rita if she is being forced to scam people. Unfortunately, I got no response. I tried once more and on September 8 Rita said “hello” and sent me another photo of herself in a shop. Except it wasn’t the same woman! Look closely and you’ll see that the woman in this photo is not the same as the above screenshots. Again, I asked her if she was OK and being forced to scam people. She replied with “Nope, I am real. Why you say that?” That was the end of our conversation.
Lots of our readers are getting these bogus Facebook recovery codes, including our friend Rob and our own family members. Scammers use a variety of tricks to get you to reveal the code, allowing them to change the password to lock you out of your account! There are also other variations of this scam. Check out this article on MalwareTips.com about these “Facebook Account Recovery Code Email Scams.”
We’ve been invited to join an investment project by Miss Marie Jose. However, dear Miss Marie has a few credibility problems! Like the fact that no legitimate business is named, her name INSIDE the email is different than the name in the text field AND that your reply will be sent to an entirely different email address! Delete!
Zelle Bank Transfer, Quickbooks and Docusign — This email wants you to think you’ve initiated a Zelle bank transfer for $468.23 but it was sent from a free Gmail account with a nonsense name that doesn’t match the text name in front of it. As expected, the attached pdf contains a scammer’s phone number! As we’ve learned hundreds of times, these scammers can be quite convincing once they have you on the phone. That’s when the real damage happens! Make sure that your friends and family members are aware of these scams. They land in everyone’s inboxes!
We’ve seen phishermen misuse the Intuit business service many times now. Here’s another example but with a new twist! This email says that YOU set up a new Admin account for someone else to log into your Intuit (Quickbook) services. That “someone” uses the email address: james @ jcraigltd[.]com. If this is not correct, you can click the “Delete User” button. EXCEPT that this link points to the malicious website at ipfs[.]io! Deeeeleeeete!
Lots of folks use Docusign to sign documents online but this email didn’t come from Docusign.com! It’s important to look carefully at the link connected to the orange button to “Review Completed Document” because you’ll see that it contains a redirect. Links with a redirect in them can be found to contain a second “http” or “https” somewhere in the middle/end of the link. (Keep in mind that redirects can also be set up on websites so that the instant your browser hits a website it is redirected to another website.) The link in this phishing email points to serving-sys[.]com (and not docusign.com) but then redirects immediately to the domain fashionthefurious[.]com. You know what to do!
I Need to Hire a Fitness Trainer… — Just a few days ago we heard from a man who is a fitness trainer and offers those services through his website. He was contacted by a woman named Linda Carter. Mrs. Carter was interested to have the man work with her twin daughters at his gym and wanted to pay him in advance for 10 sessions. (Paying in advance for ten sessions without so much as a visit, a video chat or a phone call is a MAJOR red flag!) The man agreed but then Ms. Carter asked him for one more favor. She said that her girls would be taken to/from the gym by a driver and she wanted to send him, the Fitness Trainer, the money in advance and ask him to take care of the payment to the driver! Linda Carter says that the driver is unable to take her credit card payment. That’s ridiculous!
Also, notice that Linda Carter says that she’s “hearing impaired” meaning “I can’t talk to you over the phone or video chat” and then says she’s in the hospital with Cancer (Big C). All of these circumstances are red flags!
Fortunately, this young man immediately recognized this as a fraud. He captured all the images and sent them to us to share with our readers. Enjoy!
Incoming Wire Initiated — Our friend Rob received this email from the “Account Department” but coming from the domain bytrueloves[.]com. The attached “invoice” was supposed to be an “incoming wire initiated for final disbursement…” Utter nonsense! The attached file was an htm file containing instructions to send his computer directly to a malware infection! LUNGE for the delete key!
Package Delivery Problems! — We are so sorry to keep posting the same kind of crap texts week after week but people all over the US are getting HAMMERED by these bogus texts! (Sadly, they must be very effective.) One woman contacted us recently to say that she was actually expecting a package from UPS (but not USPS) of personal items she accidently left at a Hilton Hotel in Rochester, NY. They use a third party hotel return service so, she thought, maybe this was about that delivery. She noticed that the text came from a foreign phone number and thought that odd. She then visited the real USPS postal website and entered the tracking number for this package and was informed that there was no such package. Nonetheless, she clicked the link to see where it would take her. (NOT a safe thing to do!) She said that she arrived at a web page telling her that her package was on hold due to an invalid address. She said the page looked very legitimate. She then clicked on “update address” and it eventually took her to a web page asking for a credit card for a .30 cent charge. That’s when she felt very uneasy, stopped, quit her browser and reached out to us! The link in this clickbait points to the domain Infotrck[.]com. (“usps” at the front of this link is a subdomain and is meaningless. ANYONE can create a subdomain that says anything they want!) The domain Infotrck[.]com was registered 5 weeks earlier in Singapore and the text came from a phone number from Malaysia! To NO ONE’S SURPRISE, the link in this text is malicious!
The link in this next text points to a crap domain registered about 3 weeks earlier in Germany. This text came from someone’s Mac email account!
Until next week, surf safely!
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