Windsor Police are sleuthing through cyberspace looking for scam artists selling fake World Series tickets.
The Canadian border town is just minutes from Comerica Park, home of the American League champion Detroit Tigers. So, local demand for World Series tickets is high.
Police have created fake online Kijiji ads both buying and selling tickets in an attempt to lure in and catch cyber crooks.
The sting was developed after Windsor Police began receiving calls from wary ticket buyers.
Some ticket buying advice from Windsor Police Det. Glenn Gervais:
- Never wire money to someone for tickets.
- Always ask to make a cash transaction in person and in a public.
- If possible, get hard tickets in hand rather than paper versions printed at home.
- Buy from trusted online ticket brokers such as Stub Hub, if possible
"We answered a couple ads and put our ads out there just to see. And we’ve had people try to scam us," Gervais said.
No charges have been laid but Gervais said he’s scared off scammers he traced back to Quebec.
He said scammers are usually never local because they understand "there are jurisdictional restrictions" when it comes to investigating the online scams.
"They'll know a lot about the ball team and the city," Gervais warned. "They're very knowledgeable."
Bob Reaume, who owns Bob Reaume’s Sports and sells tickets legitimately, says the market is flooded with fakes — and has been since the American League Divisional Series against the Oakland A’s.
"The bigger the event the worse it gets," he said.
Reaume said paper tickets printed at home are most commonly faked.
"There’s nothing stopping anyone from printing 20 of each and selling them. The only guy getting in is the first guy who gets scanned," he said. "And it’s buyer beware when you buy them off the streets."
Tiger fan Darcy Harold, who is originally from Windsor-Essex, flew in from Vancouver for the series. He was in the middle of moving from Windsor to Vancouver when the Tigers were in the 2006 World Series. He made the trip this year without having tickets in advance.
"It’s really hard to get tickets when you live in B.C.They go on sale at 10 a.m. which is 7 a.m. in B.C. and they were sold out by 7:20 a.m.," Harold said. "I’m feeling really anxious about it. I wish I had one right now. I’m hoping they’ll come down [in price] a little."
Harold, who was a season ticket holder when he lived in Windsor, said he’s sceptical about buying tickets on the street.
'You never know'
"You never know these days if it’s going to be fake or not," he said.
Harold had several tickets to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. He said fakes were a problem there, too.
"They looked just like the real thing," he said.
Harold is determined to go to a World Series game in Detroit. Games 3-5 are schedule for Saturday through Monday.
"I planned for a while that if the Tigers ever got back to the World Series I would go," he said. "[They won] in 1984 but I’m too young to remember it.
"If they won, I’d probably run around in the streets like everyone else."