Shutdown Corner

Fan who got scammed out of $5,900 for Super Bowl tickets ends up getting free tickets

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

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So here's a tale of mixed messages and unclear lessons. Sharon Osgood, a hardcore 49ers fan who desperately wanted to follow her team to New Orleans, wired $5,900 to a seller on Craigslist offering two Super Bowl tickets. She and her boyfriend had pooled their money to get the tickets and travel to New Orleans to root on her beloved team.

You can guess where this is going. The "seller" turned out to be a scammer. When the highly-anticipated FedEx package arrived at Osgood's home on Monday, there were no tickets inside, just the message above.

[Buy Super Bowl XLVII tickets | Buy Super Bowl XLVII merchandise]

Terrible story, right? Putting aside the First Law Of The Internet — Never Trust Anybody — and the constant warnings on Craigslist not to wire money, this is a shame. Six grand is a lot of money. And despite what you may think of Osgood's gullibility, the scammer did have a decently persuasive story: he was a tax attorney in Boca Raton, Fla., and a Ravens season-ticket holder who couldn't attend the game because of his pregnant wife.

Osgood and the seller apparently communicated several times by phone, email and text. Alas, it was all a long con. And the seller is no longer answering his phone or email, according to the San Jose Mercury-News. Sad story, right?

Well, there's a happy ending. Once Osgood's tale made the news, both Ticketmaster and the 49ers stepped in with ticket offers. Ticketmaster came through with four free tickets, and the 49ers with a fifth. Osgood will also get to have breakfast with Troy Aikman, oddly enough. (She ought to sell the extra tickets. Poetic justice.)

[Related: Demoted Alex Smith handles media day with grace]

Now it's a great story, right? Of course, Ticketmaster's motives aren't purely altruistic. The company will have a ceremony to present Osgood with the tickets ... and you can bet there'll be mention of Ticketmaster's much-maligned "convenience charge" as a safeguard against this kind of theft.

"I wish I could tell you that we don't hear this story a lot, but we do," Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard told the Mercury-News. "There are a lot of places that fans go to buy tickets that aren't safe, and they get completely exploited. And it drives us crazy."

Anyway, bottom line, Osgood got her tickets and a little bit more. Did we all learn a lesson here? We sure did, but perhaps not the one we should have.

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