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The Real Deal: Colonie a hub for Counterfeiters
COLONIE — We all know how hard it is to score concert tickets the good old fashioned way these days but now counterfeiters are making it nearly impossible to trust the resale market too. Dozens of bogus tickets have been bought and sold in the Capital Region over the past few months and the Craigslist crooks making the transactions, have used popular places in the Town of Colonie to do it.
To the naked eye, a pair of tickets to the Luke Bryan concert at SPAC purchased last week by a Stuyvesant woman, look legitimate. They've got the traditional markings, bar codes and even advertising on the back. The women tells CBS6 she saw an ad on Craigslist for them, met the seller at Colonie Center and paid nearly $350 for the pair. She was hoping to surprise her young son who loves the county star but all the pair got was total disappointment. When she brought the tickets to SPAC, she was told they were counterfeit.
"It's a buyer beware situation and unfortunately, we've seen a lot of cases where the buyers have been scammed and lost money," says Lt. Bob Winn of the Colonie Police Department. His agency has been busy with cases like this because it seems the scammers find Colonie Center a convenient meeting place to make their transactions. Over the past six months, detectives have busted a number of counterfeiters who sold bogus tickets to Phish, Justin Timberlake and Dave Matthew's Band concerts. "That's largely due to the cooperation of the victims themselves, they realize that they've been scammed and they know the craigslist ad is still up, they've either contacted us or Colonie Center security and in 2 out of the 3 cases people were still out there selling tickets in the mall and we were able to make arrests," Lt. Winn says. Some of the suspects were local but the majority are from the New York City area.
But playing catch-up is a lot harder than protecting yourself from the start, "the only way to make sure you're going to get a ticket to that venue is to buy it from either the box office, the venue itself or from one of the reputable after-market sellers," Lt. Winn says. If you insist on rolling the dice, " if you wanted to meet in the parking lot of the police station or in the lobby of the police station to do your craigslist deal, obviously the person who is selling a fake ticket or a stolen item would not come to that location," he adds.
As for the Stuyvesant women who fell victim to the Craigslist crook, she actually snapped a photo of him inside Colonie Center when she was buying the bogus tickets so she's hoping that'll help police track him down.