PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP – Two men are facing felony charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said fake World Series Game 7 tickets were found in their vehicle during a traffic stop in Wood County.
Wednesday morning, troopers stopped a 2015 Chevrolet Impala with Illinois registration for a lane change violation on Interstate 80 near milepost 69.
Investigators said the tickets were found during a search of the vehicle and were worth an approximate value of over $4,000.
The driver, Terry R. Walls, 36, of Merrillville, Indiana and passenger, Citron A. Mitchell, 35, of Chicago, Illinois, were arrested and charged with forgery. They were taken to the Wood County Justice Center.
If convicted, each could face up to a year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. The investigation is ongoing, and more charges could be filed at a later time.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said these type of ticket scams become more common during big events, such as the World Series.
In October, one Ohio consumer reported losing $280 trying to buy Cleveland Indians tickets on Craigslist.
DeWine recommended taking the following steps to avoid ticket scams:
- Buy from reputable sellers. Deal with reputable businesses instead of third-party individuals who are not associated with an event. Before providing any payment or personal information, research a seller’s reputation. Check the return policy, and find out what would happen if the event is cancelled. If you’re trying to buy tickets from an individual, be especially cautious. Conduct an online search using the seller’s name, username, email address, or phone number along with words like “reviews,” “scam,” “fake tickets,” or “counterfeit tickets.” Even if you find no complaints, don’t assume the seller is reputable. Some con artists use fake names or bogus contact information.
- Check the venue’s ticket policies. Find out how tickets are being sold and what kind of tickets will be accepted at the event. Increasingly, a number of venues and events primarily use electronic tickets. However, if you’re trying to buy a paper ticket, take steps to make sure it’s real. Inspect both sides of the ticket, and be aware that some ticket scammers create counterfeit tickets that look legitimate even though they are not.
- Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other sites may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but the offers may be scams. Some scammers also provide phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly for a good price. For example, they may falsely claim to have a family emergency or to be in the military and unable to use the tickets.
- Consider paying with a credit card, if possible. If a problem arises, you generally have a greater ability to dispute credit card charges versus other forms of payment. Be skeptical of sellers who say you must pay via wire transfer, prepaid money card, or gift card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once payment is provided, it is very difficult to recover.
- Report suspected scams. If you think you’ve sent money to a scam artist, immediately contact the payment system you used. For example if you wired the money, contact the wire-transfer company. (In rare cases, payment can be stopped before it’s picked up in a scam.) Also flag suspicious posts online. Suspicious Craigslist ads can be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office directly from Craigslist.
“This is a very exciting time for Cleveland,” DeWine said. “It’s also the kind of environment that’s ripe for scams, unfortunately. We just want Cleveland fans to be able to enjoy every moment of this, without getting ripped off.”
For more information or to report a scam, consumers should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or by calling 800-282-0515.