TUCSON – Zombie runs, food festivals, women’s conferences, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office says these are just a few examples of a growing number of fake online events.
“It’s very easy to create a new facebook page, new company name, new website and make claims that an event that has never been held before is an annual event with thousands of guests,” said Katie Connor with the Attorney General’s office.
Connor says the scams work by getting people to pay for tickets in advance, then on the day of the event, people show up to empty parking lots.
“There was a Crab and Lobster Feast advertised in Phoenix. People drove in from all over. California, from Yuma, from Southern Arizona all to attend this event. The event never occurred and these people didn’t get their money back. Some tickets sold for around $30,” said Connor
In October scammers advertised a Dragon Zombies and Skulls 5k in Tucson. It’s unclear how many people bought tickets for the 5k, but the race was showcased on several running event sites.
Officials say there are three easy ways to protect yourself:
- Look up the organization sponsoring the event before paying in advance
- Do a Google search of the event along with the word scam
- Contact the event organizer and see if they have a viable website, phone number or history
To crack down on scammers the Arizona Attorney General’s office has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. Asking them to do more to protect consumers online.
“We know that we really can’t do it alone and this is a growing nationwide problem, that really requires all states and the federal government to all come together to solve it,” said Connor.