Facebook scams have been sweeping the area and stealing hundreds of dollars from locals. A popular scam includes offering tickets to the sold out Gibbston Valley concert, only for the buyer to be blocked after transferring the money.
Matt Ecroyd lost $600 to a fake profile by the name of Emma Senara after trying to buy four Gibbston tickets. Rachel Sarah almost lost money to Senara after she made an advertisement looking for two king single beds for her sons. Senara contacted her, claiming to have two beds in Christchurch and would sell them for $250, including delivery. This immediately set off warning bells for Sarah, who knew from experience that delivery companies were very expensive, and she took a closer look at the seller. “I looked at her profile and it had only been created hours beforehand. Her profile and cover pic were uploaded at the same time and there were no likes or comments....no friends list and no previous posts,” Sarah says, noting that the photos of the beds had also been screenshots of other people’s listings. “So I very rudely told her/him that Thieves go to Hell etc and the profile was deleted within minutes,” confirming her suspicions.
Clare Hartnell lost $150 to “Hannah K Oeveren” in an attempt to buy a ticket for the concert, but says she knows others who have lost “300, 500, 600” dollars from the woman. Hartnell is currently in the process of attempting to get the money back from her bank and will go to the police. The scammer she warns about is apparently now selling fake Six60 tickets.
Charlotte Pring also lost $150 to Oeveren and says “I've heard from a few others that have been scammed by the same person and it's been a lot more than that. I'm not worried about the money, I just want to get the word out so it doesn't keep happening.”
After Pring had transferred the money, Oeveren kept on making a series of excuses such "I'm driving", "laptop playing up", "I'm sorting my kids out" until Pring was eventually blocked from her profile. To add a twist in the matter, Pring says she’s now heard from Oeveran’s alleged mother and boyfriend, who claim that the profile isn’t her and rather she lost her ID in Auckland about six months ago. The mother is apparently working with Queenstown police to help resolve the issue of stolen identity.
If you’re thinking about buying a concert ticket online, meeting with the seller in person is always a good idea. Amanda Calvert, CEO of Greenstone Entertainment who runs the Gibbston Valley concert, says “We always recommend only buying tickets directly from the authorised outlet, in our case it was via our website” but notes that this weekend’s Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert is a complete sell out. “We feel for anyone who gets affected by purchasing tickets for events through third party, non-authorized resellers and reiterate to only buy tickets through the authorised ticket provider,” Calvert goes on to say. Be careful online and make sure to do a good profile check of your seller or buyer to avoid losing money.