PHOTO: Families hoping to vacation at Disneyland Paris were duped by fake tickets. (Photo via Flickr/David Jafra)
Sometimes the best deal is no deal at all.
That might be the greatest lesson gleaned from a Fox News report on a woman who sold fake tickets to people via Facebook, one of whom is considered a friend.
According to the report, Ellie Catchesides will not face charges for selling fake tickets via social media. The 28-year-old had convinced followers she had legitimate tickets to Disneyland Paris but couldn’t make the trip, raking in 1,500 pounds (about $1,880) with that tall tale. The scam included a woman who was reportedly friends with Catchesides for 15 years.
If that's the lengths some scammers will go to, what's a cost-conscious traveler to do?
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Attractions are an increasingly expensive endeavor. Disneyland ticket prices seem to be perennially on the rise, as are tickets for the theater, local landmarks and sporting events.
Here are some basic tips to help keep you from getting duped out of your well-earned travel money.
Check The Details:
Unless you’re a counterfeit expert, you may spend hours perusing a ticket for minute details that will raise those red flags.
Website Detect A Fake helps find untoward Ticketmaster tickets. It offers solid advice for other services as well.
Essentially, pay attention to the details and trust your experience. In this case, Ticketmaster doesn’t use things like commas for its dates.
Correct spelling, proper websites and the quality of the ticket all play into its validity. Of course, this isn’t a foolproof plan but rather an initial guideline for the wary.
Stick to Ticket Authorities:
There are certainly plenty of places on the secondary market that offer trustworthy service.
Stubhub is just one popular method. While it may meet or exceed the cost of regular tickets, you can sometimes catch a great deal on, say, the day of a game as the site tries to get rid of inventory.
The key here is that you are getting tickets that come with something of a legitimacy guarantee.
For example, London is filled with outlets that promise discount theater tickets. Visit London, however, advises you to single out the reliable TKTS that can be found at Leicester Square.
READ MORE: Get Ready for Higher Disney Ticket Prices
Do Some Online Traveling:
Google is your best friend in this regard. If you have a question as to the veracity of the ticket or the seller, look up the company or whether you should really plunk down cash on a Craigslist promise. (Pro Tip: Don’t do it.)
Just Get It From The Source:
In the end, your best bet is paying for peace of mind. We all agree that ticket prices for just about every venue are out of control.
Still, you may find yourself out hundreds if you fail to spot a fake or end up trusting the wrong person.
For example, Super Bowl officials once again explained to fans this year how one might spot a fake, but the only assured way of a finding a legitimate ticket is saving up and getting the real deal from the real source.
NFL senior counsel Michael Buchwald explained, via The Denver Post: “The quality of counterfeit tickets can be quite sophisticated but no matter how real the tickets may look a fake ticket will not get you into the game on Sunday. That’s why we strongly discourage fans from buying tickets from any suspicious sources.”
More apropos to Disney enthusiasts, back in 2015, LA Weekly advised that even genuine Disneyland tickets might be sold without being activated. This might happen if the passes were stolen.
So even if you get to the final stage of your purchase with an unknown source and are convinced the ticket you have is real, it still may pose an issue when you get to the gates.
If you add in time and the money it takes for hotel accommodations and airfare, it’s far more advantageous to just buy an actual ticket from your attraction of choice and get on with your good time, doubt and hassle-free.