The sites, beijingticketing.com and beijing-tickets2008.com, appeared to be legitimate ticket brokers, but instead of supplying the tickets, the owners of the sites charged hundreds of credit card accounts. The scam affected people around the world, including the parents of members of Austrailia's Olympic team.
Apparently, the International Olympic Committee had been alerted to the scam several months ago. As of Tuesday morning, the sites were inaccessible.
This type of scam has become relatively common, Fred Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor, told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday.
“We see it all the time,” Felman said, “especially on ticket and auction sites.”
He advised that consumers always try to use the ticket brokers recommended by the event itself.
“Or, when in doubt, read the comments, if there are any," he added. "If every comment is positive and many of them are poorly written, that should raise a red flag that the site isn't legitimate.”
The loss of hundreds of dollars thought to be spent on tickets is only the tip of the iceberg, Sam Masiello, director of threat management at MX Logic, told SCMagazineUS.com.
“Not only are people out the money for event tickets, their credit card information, names and addresses are in the hands of crooks,” Masiello said. “While many of these people think all they've lost is the amount spent on tickets, the truth is, they are at risk of having their identity stolen.”