TORONTO — Police are investigating death threats against a Toronto-area woman who refused to pay a scammer after discovering the concert tickets she was about to buy from him were fake.
“He texted me and said go f— yourself we will f— your life up and cut up your body,” said Christina Pearson, who immediately went to police.
Pearson had been helping her teenage daughter buy tickets for an upcoming Justin Bieber concert in Toronto scheduled for May.
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When her daughter found tickets for sale through a vendor on Kijijii, Pearson began a series of text message exchanges with the seller who said he had floor tickets for the concert for $199 each.
The seller told Pearson that he would share a link so she could obtain the tickets –provided she also set up a Ticketmaster account.
Then, he insisted she send him a picture of her driver’s licence, which she did.
“I was trusting and wasn’t thinking that he was trying to scam me or anything,” she said.
But prior to completing the deal, Pearson realized she was going to be defrauded — because when she tried to retrieve the tickets through a link provided by the seller, it didn’t work. So she didn’t pay.
That decision unleashed a barrage of messages aimed at Pearson threatening death. One message suggested she would be eviscerated as a penalty for not paying.
But for Pearson, the threats are just one part of the problem.
Days later, Pearson began to receive telephone calls at home from other ticket buyers demanding she send them Bieber tickets they had paid for.
It turns out, the ticket scammer used Pearson’s driver’s licence image to convince other potential buyers that she was the seller. Those buyers paid the ticket scammer for bogus tickets through electronic money transfers.
Pearson has so far received five phone calls from buyers. She has told each that she is the victim of an identity theft and that they have been scammed. She referred callers to police.
“There is no safe way to receive tickets after market anymore,” said Sgt. Bill Calder with Durham Region Police.
Calder says consumers buying tickets from other sources can’t be sure they’ll be getting real tickets that will get them into the venue on the day of the show.
“The original tickets are being bought but resold many times over,” he said.
Police also say someone should never share personal identification with people they don’t know online.
Pearson says she’s learned that lesson and won’t likely be trying to buy tickets from resellers again.
Police say they are investigating the frauds and are taking the threats against Pearson “seriously.”
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