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Local man falls victim to scam while purchasing Golden Knights tickets

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 02:36:41-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — That rush to land tickets to big games or concerts could leave you on the outside looking in, and lighter in the wallet.

Thieves target fans seeking out significant events, and Las Vegas has plenty of those. 13 Action News shows what you need to know before hitting "purchase."

"I was mad and probably more upset at myself," says John Silva.

He says he just wanted to take his girlfriend to a Golden Knights game. He tried buying tickets a couple of weeks ago when San Jose was in town for the playoffs. John says he found a great deal on Craigslist.

"Found an ad where it said; we've sold the seats before. Anybody who knows us, knows how legitimate this is," says John.

John says the seller was offering a pair of tickets for just $160 and requesting the money through the digital payment service Zelle.

A video from the company says: "With Zelle money moves directly between bank accounts in minutes - not days. Making it fast, safe, and easy to send money."

Many people can access Zelle through their bank or download the app for free.

"I'd never used Zelle. I've used Venmo, and I did not do my homework before doing this," says John.

He says he was anxious to seal the deal, so he sent the money right away. But when he didn't get a response, John started texting and calling the seller.

"That was the end of it. Phone number never worked. Text messages were never returned," says John.

He says he reached out to his bank and Zelle but was told there was nothing they can do.

"It's really important for people to know they are liable for fraud if something goes wrong," says Industry Analyst, Ted Rossman.

Rossman points out Zelle doesn't offer a protection program like a credit card. And there's no way to reverse payment with Zelle or similar services.

"Among these new peer to peer payment services, I think PayPal has the best consumer protections. Certainly better than we see on services like Zelle, Square Cash, Venmo," says Rossman.

He suggests using a well known third-party seller: like StubHub or Vivid Seats. These sites charge fees but offer better protection. 13 Action News also reached out to Zelle.

They wouldn't provide someone to speak with us on camera but directed us to a video that says: "Keep your money safe. Only use Zelle with friends, family, and others you trust."

John says he's learned that lesson the hard way. Fortunately for him, he received a full refund after contacting 13 Action News.

"I'm 100% convinced of it. Without your support I never would've been able to get the money back," John said.