As soon as Maggie Bruns saw the Seahawks schedule for this season, the longtime fan knew she had to be at CenturyLink Field for the showdown with the 49ers. Little did she know her quest for tickets would land her in the middle of a scam that has left at least 20 people holding fake tickets for the same seats.
After scouring Craigslist for weeks to find a pair she could afford, she finally found a seller asking $200 each for two tickets in the upper deck. Bruns met the woman at a Seattle restaurant and paid cash for what the woman said were her season tickets.
"I took one of my guy friends with me who has season tickets. I kind of trusted he'd know if they look fake because he's been a season ticket holder and he thought they looked fine," Bruns says. The tickets even had the perforated edge and bar code.
Bruns says she felt like something wasn't quite right, but everything looked legit. After several weeks, she decided to resell the tickets on Craigslist and upgrade to better seats. A prospective buyer asked her to send him pictures of the tickets.
"So I did. And after doing so his response was 'why do I have the same exact ticket?'"
It turns out they weren't the only ones. Bruns posted a notice on Craigslist and soon heard from several others who also bought the same exact bogus tickets.
She filed a police report and contacted the Seahawks ticket office, which told her police had received a number of complaints about the scam.
"We know of at least 20," says Kent Police detective Melanie Frazier. "And there are probably other victims out there that don't even know they have fraudulent tickets at this point and won't until they get to the game and find out they got ripped off."
Bruns says she tracked down the season ticket holder, who told her he'd sold the seats on Craigslist. But she and police are hopeful they can track down the scammers. Frazier says an investigation is ongoing.
"We're hoping that these suspects are making some mistakes along the way and that we can eventually get them and get them prosecuted for this."
While the Seahawks can't stop season ticket holders from reselling their seats, a spokesperson says the team encourages fans to use Ticket Exchange, the only authorized ticket resale site associated with the team.
"If season ticket holders forward, reprint or sell their tickets, the originals become invalid. Any fraudulent ticket activity could lead to permanent loss of ticket priveleges," said Corporate Communications Director Suzanne Lavender in an email. "The Seahawks can only guarantee success if fans use the approved ticketing partners."
Anyone who bought suspect season tickets are encouraged to contact the Seahawks ticket office to determine if they are legitimate, before they head for Sunday's game.
"I would hate for people to find out when they get to the stadium," Frazier says.
As for Bruns, she's out $400 and still doesn't have tickets to the game. But she isn't giving up hope.
"I'm working on it," she says.
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