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Olympics Ticket Scam
CNBC.com | August 11, 2008 | 02:02 AM EDT

I'm sure you've heard about the unbelievable Olympics ticket scam reportedly run by a guy out of England who has done this a couple times before.

It's been hard to get the numbers on how many people got scammed, but it seems like it spanned the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia and some have said that the total take might have been in the $40 million to $50 million range. If that's true, it's likely the single biggest ticket scam of all time.

There's a couple reasons why I think this scam worked.

  • The Web sites, which included Beijingticketing.com, looked extremely well put together.
  • They came up first in Google, which insured that a high volume of people were going to click on it.
  • It was very easy to pay.
  • It involved the Olympics, a one-time event with tons of tickets that makes it easy to make a quick buck in one shot.
  • I spoke with Eric H. Baker, founder and CEO of Viagogo, Europe's leading secondary ticketing exchange, about this.

    "This is the largest single ticketing scam that I've ever seen around a single event -- $50 million stolen by a single guy, using a slick website. It highlights why fans on the Internet have to know who they're dealing with. Anyone can put up a fraudulent website. You have to check the backers and partners of the company. Fraudsters will build slick Web sites that look official. It's not unlike online scammers trying to get your banking information by directing you to an official looking website that displays your bank's logo. It's like counterfeit tickets, you can't tell whether they're authentic just by looking at the ticket...you have to know and trust the source. The reason I started Viagogo was to give international consumers legitimate outlets to buy secondary tickets, so that they will not be at the mercy of fraudsters on street corners or online. As this Olympics scam shows, while StubHub (which Baker founded as well) has eliminated much of the fraudsters in the U.S., there is a need for Viagogo to solve the problem internationally."

    Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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