The mystery of Nova Scotia’s Oak Island has intrigued people for years, and each summer hundreds of visitors tour the private island led by the not-for-profit group “Friends of Oak Island Society.”
The famous and private Oak Island in Mahone Bay is believed to have hidden treasures buried somewhere. But a different kind of mystery has evolved around the island, as a scammer and phony website was found to be selling fake tickets for the popular mystery tour.
“We got an email from somebody that had purchased tickets and we went to look up his ticket information and couldn’t find it,” said Judy Eisnor, co-chair with the Friends of Oak Island Society.
It was in late April when more emails from duped customers began to flood in. That’s when the society knew something wasn’t right and realized it was part of a scam.
“We reached out to (the RCMP) probably two or three weeks ago and told them we thought there was something going on and gave them whatever information ee had found,” said Eisnor.
“They took over from there and it’s ongoing.”
The summer tours are sold out and the Friends of Oak Island credit a lot of the interest to the popular show The Curse of Oak Island. The show airs on the History Channel and has sparked even more intrigue in the island.
On May 17, RCMP arrested a 53-year-old Lunenburg County man on theft and fraud charges over $5,000 after searching a home and vehicle.
The suspect’s name has not been released, but he is scheduled to appear in court in November.
RCMP anticipate more charges will come as the complex investigation continues.
It appears the work put into the ticket scam was equally as complex, says the mystery tour organizers.
“They basically cloned our ticket page on Eventbrite and was able to somehow reach out to people and direct them to purchase tickets through that website,” said Eisnor.
The society had suspicions as to who it was behind the scam, but wouldn’t say what connection they had to the Oak Island tour.
“The person was known to us for a few years.”
The society doesn’t know exactly how many fraudulent tickets were sold but have agreed to honour those tickets.