Taylor Swift fans are falling for ‘Cruel Summer’ before the Eras tour in Chicago. How can you avoid it? – NBC Chicago
She’s filling stadiums across the country, and Chicago is one of her next stops: Taylor Swift draws thousands of fans to her “Eras Tour” every weekend she sings, and from June 2-4, Swift will perform a sold-out show at Soldier Field, with Swifties uniting, hand in hand.
But there’s a hidden trap fans could fall into if they’re not careful.
Chicago’s father, James Imlach, knows this trap all too well, and he hopes his story serves as a warning to others.
Imlach explained that he hoped to land three Eras tour tickets for his daughter and two friends as gifts for their upcoming high school graduation.
So last month, Imlach said he turned to online platform OfferUp and started messaging a seller who said he had three tickets to sell.
” It started [with] two-way text messaging,” Imlach explained. “This guy sent me a picture of himself.”
Everything was fine, Imlach thought, until he sent his money.
“I Zelle’d on the $660,” Imlach said. “And at first he was like, ‘I’m having internet trouble, I’m having trouble charging my phone,’ but I kept my cool. And then he sent me a ticket out of the three I had ordered.
Imlach said he compared this single ticket to a genuine ticket that a friend had purchased and at that point realized it was fake.
“I stumbled upon it,” he said. “I was a sucker, I was gullible.”
OfferUp is now investigating what happened and told NBC 5 Responds it has since blocked the seller’s account in the matter.
Imlach said he tried to get his money back from Zelle, but was unsuccessful because the e-transfer service isn’t like your typical bank when it comes to chargebacks.
“Zelle is not interested, and the banks behind her are not interested, in terms of helping people, especially if they’ve been defrauded,” Consumers’ Checkbook’s Kevin Brasler told NBC’s 5 Responds in a previous report.
Zelle explained that it was essentially the messenger, communicating money transfers from one bank account to another, but never actually holding the funds, meaning only banks can issue refunds in the event of a fraud.
Imlach said she contacted her bank, the Huntington National Bank, but was told by a representative that she was unable to recover the funds.
A Huntington National Bank spokesperson said it could not comment on Imlach’s individual case, in accordance with its privacy policies, but shared an important warning for all consumers.
“Zelle should only be used to send money to friends, family and people you trust,” a Huntington Bank spokesperson said. “Zelle should not be used for goods or services, and should not be used to send money to recipients you are unfamiliar with or do not trust.”
Imlach hopes Swift fans will listen to her story and take it as a warning.
“Unfortunately, I trusted someone – a complete stranger – and not only did I not receive the tickets, but I never got my money back either,” Imlach explained. “He ghosted me.”
The Taylor Swift trap that Imlach fell into is one that the Better Business Bureau warns it sees a large number of consumers fall into in Chicago.
“I’ve been doing this for 36 years and this is probably the most times we’ve seen people asking for tickets and the most ads we’ve seen on the secondary ticket market,” said Steve Bernas of the BBB. “So with that come the crooks.”
Safety Checklist for Buying Tickets on the Secondary or Resale Market
With more than a week to go until the concert, NBC 5 Responds and the Better Business Bureau have a safety checklist for anyone looking for tickets on the secondary market:
- Make sure you buy tickets from a verified seller. If it’s online, through a platform like OfferUp, know the company’s policies. For example, with OfferUp, the app recommends only paying for tickets electronically using its payment protection plan, rather than using a bank transfer like Zelle. And if the seller says they’ll only accept Zelle, know that’s a red flag.
- Use your credit card for your purchases. This is the payment method that often offers the best protection against fraud, but check with your bank, as there is sometimes some fine print to be aware of.
- Search for resale tickets on your own social network. The BBB strongly advises against buying tickets from complete strangers, if you can avoid it.
- Be skeptical and check the authenticity of secondary market tickets. Scammers can forge barcodes and tickets, so make sure everything you buy is genuine.
- Does it pass the smell test? If the price of a ticket seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t real. In Taylor Swift’s example, the resale tickets were over $1,000 each.
For more tips on finding Taylor Swift tickets, click here.
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