‘Swifty Swindle’: Oak Bay police say victims out $2,400 after concert ticket scam

'Swifty Swindle': Oak Bay police say victims out $2,400 after concert ticket scam
Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Taylor Swift is pictured.

Taylor Swift concert ticket scams are once again making the rounds on Vancouver Island, this time in Oak Bay where police say victims were duped out of thousands of dollars.

According to Oak Bay Police, in two separate incidents, victims e-transferred $2,400 in return for four passes to a Swift concert, only to later learn it was a scam.

The first incident was reported to police on June 11, after the complainant said they saw a Facebook post from a friend claiming they were selling tickets. The victim sent the e-transfer, and soon after received “obvious” fake tickets, say police.

Eventually, the victim found out their friend’s Facebook had been hacked, and police say the file has been referred to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

Later, on June 11, Oak Bay police received a second call about fraud involving similar scammer tactics. The victim’s friend was advertising the Swift tickets on Facebook, so they e-transferred $2,000. The seller then asked for another $400, claiming there was a surcharge to transfer the tickets.

The victim sent the extra money then “became concerned they were being scammed,” said police.

“The complainant called their friend and confirmed it was a scam. The friend advised their Facebook account had been hacked.”


Police say they’re still investigating the scams.

“The same ‘hacked’ Facebook profile had been used in both reports of fraud to Oak Bay Police,” reads a news release Tuesday.

“The ‘Swifty Swindle,’ similar to the frauds reported to Oak Bay Police this past week, has been reported in several other police jurisdictions over the past few weeks.”

Pop star Swift, known for songs like “Shake It Off” and “Anti-Hero,” is bringing her Eras Tour to Canada, stopping by Vancouver’s BC Place from Dec. 6 to 8.

Like in Oak Bay, concert ticket scams have also hit other parts of the Island, including the West Shore. In April, RCMP there said they were receiving numerous complaints of fraud involving the re-sale of Swift tickets, and last summer Mounties on Quadra Island got the word out about a similar online scam.

RCMP warned the public to stay wary.

“There is always a risk to purchasing items privately listed for sale online, especially popular concert tickets. Police recommend only purchasing concert tickets from verified organizations,” said West Shore RCMP Cpl. Nancy Saggar in April.

Swift’s tour, which kicked off last March, has become one of the most lucrative shows in history, according to research company QuestionPro. When the upcoming Vancouver shows were announced, organizers called it “the hottest ticket in town.”

Island-based sports teams have offered passes to the shows as promotions, while BC Ferries and Hullo say they’re adding extra sailings for when Swift’s in Vancouver.

Even B.C. Premier David Eby let his inner Swiftie shine last year, pleading on social media for the American singer-songwriter to stop by Canada’s West Coast.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website offers tips on how to protect yourself against scams. It says such crimes can happen to anyone at any time, so it’s important to be cautious. If you fall victim, contact both police and the CAFC.

Social media users should also take steps to prevent their accounts from being hacked, like creating strong passwords and using multi-factor authentication.

Anyone with information about the ticket scams in Oak Bay is asked to call police at 250-592-2424 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!