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This from stuff.co.nz:

Kiwis caught in Olympic ticket scam

By SALLY FRENCH, TREVOR McKEWEN, PETER MARTINEZ | Monday, 04 August 2008

More than a dozen Kiwis have contacted the New Zealand Olympic Committee after being burned by an internet ticketing scam.

Do you know more? Are you a victim of the scam? Click here to tell us more.

It has been revealed that the beijingticketing.com site and another selling site, beijing-tickets2008.com, are bogus.

The global scam is believed to have netted the fraudsters more than $50 million.

NZOC Secretary General Barry Maister said the callers had lost varying amounts of money and were from all parts of New Zealand.

Maister said ticket scammers go hand in hand with every major sports event in the world.

"Scams are not new. That's why the committee works hard to ensure people choose to buy their tickets through reputable agencies," he said.

"Regrettably some people believe they can save some money by going elsewhere and they put themselves at risk while doing so."

Maister said some people have had difficulty getting tickets through reliable sources, and in frustration have looked elsewhere to find them.

"We regret that but there is no shortcut in the process."

He said about 2000 New Zealanders have bought tickets to the Beijing Olympics through reputable agencies, and are in for a great experience.

He said the NZOC and the United States Olympic Committee have already taken legal steps against the "latest" scam to close it down.

"But they can usually only be reactive rather than proactive with these things and that means people get burned in the process," he said.

Maister said the committee has sourced tickets for those people who have been scammed, but still want to go the Olympics.

"We've managed to get them all general tickets – although they've still lost money in the process."

He expects there may be many other Kiwis who have been caught in the scam that haven't yet contacted the NZOC.

LIFELINE FOR COMPETITORS' PARENTS

Parents of New Zealand Olympians who have been caught up in the scam still have a chance of going to Beijing to watch their sons or daughters compete.

Premier Events Asia Pacific is the New Zealand Olympic Committee's official ticketing agency, and its managing director Malcolm Beattie said today he would do everything possible to get affected parents tickets because of their "horrible predicament".

Beattie said from Beijing today that affected parents could e-mail him immediately at malcolmb@premiereventsgroup.com.

"Tickets have long sold out but there are always ways with our friends who are official ticket people for other national Olympic committees.

"We swap with each other ... we can work it out - we will do our very best to try and get tickets for those distressed parents."

Beattie said he had secured tickets for Jill Eastham, mother of shooter Robert Eastham who was in a similar situation and last night found tickets for the mother of BMX gold medal contender Sarah Walker.

He thought that there were at least four cases in which parents of New Zealand Olympians had been scammed.

Parents of New Zealand's male BMX rider, Marc Willers, were among those to have been caught out in the scam based in Arizona in the United States.

Yvonne and Alan Willers paid more than $700 via the beijingticketing.com website for tickets that did not arrive.

But they realised early that they had been duped and were able to secure legitimate replacement tickets.

Mrs Willers said the family of New Zealand's other BMX Olympic medal hope Sarah Walker, had also forked out money to the US website and not received tickets.

Others who also purchased tickets via the beijingticketing.com site won't be so lucky.

The beijingticketing.com site provides a London phone number but gives a registered office address in Arizona.

"That site is the biggest scam in the world, they have made millions of dollars worldwide," Beattie said.

"They are based out of Arizona somewhere and are being sued by the United States Olympic committee - if they can even find them.

"They are a complete fraud and anybody who gave them money off their website to unofficial people really are taking a hell of a risk," Beattie said.

He also reminded New Zealanders they had to collect their tickets in Beijing.

"We have only just had the tickets issued to us by Bocog (the games organising committee) and Bocog will not let us courier tickets out of China.

"We have set up an office in the New Zealand embassy in Beijing and we have informed people that they have to come there at allocated times to pick up their tickets."

He said about 2000 New Zealanders were travelling to the Beijing Olympics. This compared to the 1000 who went to Athens in 2004 and the 6000 to Sydney in 2000.

AUSSIES BURNED

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that a host of Australians have been caught out with one Brisbane man losing $A46,000 and a Sydney man losing $A10,000.

Kiwis who have purchased tickets online through www.beijing-tickets2008.com and www.beijingticketing.com, websites linked to a fraud involving the sale of Euro 2008 football tickets, are those likely to have scammed.

Australian news outlets report the former NSW state opposition leader, Kerry Chikarovski, also lost $A350 trying to buy two extra tickets to the Games.

The International Olympic Committee has been flooded with complaints from hundreds of people worldwide who have realised they had been conned, including the parents and friends of competing athletes.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Australian Olympic Committee, Mike Tancred, said it had received many complaints but it had consistently told consumers to buy only from the authorised Australian ticketing agent, CoSports.

The international committee won a restraining order in the US to shut down www.beijing-tickets2008.com several weeks ago. Lawyers for the committee will appear before a federal court judge in San Francisco tomorrow to shut down the other website.

But yesterday www.beijingticketing.com was still offering tickets for events that have been sold out for months.

The website claims to sell A-class tickets to the swimming finals for $695 and said it had A-class tickets to Friday's opening ceremony for $2150. It claimed the other categories for the opening ceremony had been sold out.

The site provides a London phone number but gives a registered office address in Arizona.

A Brisbane property developer, Rob Jones, said he lost $46,000 but was still flying to Beijing today to try to secure some tickets for the Games.

"I have already paid for the flights and accommodation and I have managed to get a few tickets to a few events, but obviously the tickets that I bought through this website are gone," Mr Jones said.

"I had bought opening and closing ceremony tickets, swim finals and some football tickets. I must say that up until now I was hoping that the tickets would just turn up, but I have been complaining to various authorities about this because I sensed it was a scam a few months ago.

- Fairfax Media/NZPA

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This from stuff.co.nz:

Kiwis caught in Olympic ticket scam

By SALLY FRENCH, TREVOR McKEWEN, PETER MARTINEZ | Monday, 04 August 2008

More than a dozen Kiwis have contacted the New Zealand Olympic Committee after being burned by an internet ticketing scam.

Do you know more? Are you a victim of the scam? Click here to tell us more.

It has been revealed that the beijingticketing.com site and another selling site, beijing-tickets2008.com, are bogus.

The global scam is believed to have netted the fraudsters more than $50 million.

NZOC Secretary General Barry Maister said the callers had lost varying amounts of money and were from all parts of New Zealand.

Maister said ticket scammers go hand in hand with every major sports event in the world.

"Scams are not new. That's why the committee works hard to ensure people choose to buy their tickets through reputable agencies," he said.

"Regrettably some people believe they can save some money by going elsewhere and they put themselves at risk while doing so."

Maister said some people have had difficulty getting tickets through reliable sources, and in frustration have looked elsewhere to find them.

"We regret that but there is no shortcut in the process."

He said about 2000 New Zealanders have bought tickets to the Beijing Olympics through reputable agencies, and are in for a great experience.

He said the NZOC and the United States Olympic Committee have already taken legal steps against the "latest" scam to close it down.

"But they can usually only be reactive rather than proactive with these things and that means people get burned in the process," he said.

Maister said the committee has sourced tickets for those people who have been scammed, but still want to go the Olympics.

"We've managed to get them all general tickets – although they've still lost money in the process."

He expects there may be many other Kiwis who have been caught in the scam that haven't yet contacted the NZOC.

LIFELINE FOR COMPETITORS' PARENTS

Parents of New Zealand Olympians who have been caught up in the scam still have a chance of going to Beijing to watch their sons or daughters compete.

Premier Events Asia Pacific is the New Zealand Olympic Committee's official ticketing agency, and its managing director Malcolm Beattie said today he would do everything possible to get affected parents tickets because of their "horrible predicament".

Beattie said from Beijing today that affected parents could e-mail him immediately at malcolmb@premiereventsgroup.com.

"Tickets have long sold out but there are always ways with our friends who are official ticket people for other national Olympic committees.

"We swap with each other ... we can work it out - we will do our very best to try and get tickets for those distressed parents."

Beattie said he had secured tickets for Jill Eastham, mother of shooter Robert Eastham who was in a similar situation and last night found tickets for the mother of BMX gold medal contender Sarah Walker.

He thought that there were at least four cases in which parents of New Zealand Olympians had been scammed.

Parents of New Zealand's male BMX rider, Marc Willers, were among those to have been caught out in the scam based in Arizona in the United States.

Yvonne and Alan Willers paid more than $700 via the beijingticketing.com website for tickets that did not arrive.

But they realised early that they had been duped and were able to secure legitimate replacement tickets.

Mrs Willers said the family of New Zealand's other BMX Olympic medal hope Sarah Walker, had also forked out money to the US website and not received tickets.

Others who also purchased tickets via the beijingticketing.com site won't be so lucky.

The beijingticketing.com site provides a London phone number but gives a registered office address in Arizona.

"That site is the biggest scam in the world, they have made millions of dollars worldwide," Beattie said.

"They are based out of Arizona somewhere and are being sued by the United States Olympic committee - if they can even find them.

"They are a complete fraud and anybody who gave them money off their website to unofficial people really are taking a hell of a risk," Beattie said.

He also reminded New Zealanders they had to collect their tickets in Beijing.

"We have only just had the tickets issued to us by Bocog (the games organising committee) and Bocog will not let us courier tickets out of China.

"We have set up an office in the New Zealand embassy in Beijing and we have informed people that they have to come there at allocated times to pick up their tickets."

He said about 2000 New Zealanders were travelling to the Beijing Olympics. This compared to the 1000 who went to Athens in 2004 and the 6000 to Sydney in 2000.

AUSSIES BURNED

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that a host of Australians have been caught out with one Brisbane man losing $A46,000 and a Sydney man losing $A10,000.

Kiwis who have purchased tickets online through www.beijing-tickets2008.com and www.beijingticketing.com, websites linked to a fraud involving the sale of Euro 2008 football tickets, are those likely to have scammed.

Australian news outlets report the former NSW state opposition leader, Kerry Chikarovski, also lost $A350 trying to buy two extra tickets to the Games.

The International Olympic Committee has been flooded with complaints from hundreds of people worldwide who have realised they had been conned, including the parents and friends of competing athletes.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Australian Olympic Committee, Mike Tancred, said it had received many complaints but it had consistently told consumers to buy only from the authorised Australian ticketing agent, CoSports.

The international committee won a restraining order in the US to shut down www.beijing-tickets2008.com several weeks ago. Lawyers for the committee will appear before a federal court judge in San Francisco tomorrow to shut down the other website.

But yesterday www.beijingticketing.com was still offering tickets for events that have been sold out for months.

The website claims to sell A-class tickets to the swimming finals for $695 and said it had A-class tickets to Friday's opening ceremony for $2150. It claimed the other categories for the opening ceremony had been sold out.

The site provides a London phone number but gives a registered office address in Arizona.

A Brisbane property developer, Rob Jones, said he lost $46,000 but was still flying to Beijing today to try to secure some tickets for the Games.

"I have already paid for the flights and accommodation and I have managed to get a few tickets to a few events, but obviously the tickets that I bought through this website are gone," Mr Jones said.

"I had bought opening and closing ceremony tickets, swim finals and some football tickets. I must say that up until now I was hoping that the tickets would just turn up, but I have been complaining to various authorities about this because I sensed it was a scam a few months ago.

- Fairfax Media/NZPA

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I would anticipate that thousand's have been scammed on this site, including myself

for a opening ceremonies ticket.

Really can't believe the site hasn't been shut down.

What is needed is a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT aganist the organization with

a method of finding as many victims as possible and collectively take these

crooks to court!

This will continue on and on for future tickets sales if governments don't step up to the plate and

stop them.

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I have a bit different take on this situation, and some of you are not going to like it. Most of these people scammed could have avoided the situation simply by doing their homework, and not putting Games enthusiasm and blind faith ahead of common sense. This site has been a known scam site for many months (actually, since at least autumn of 2007). I especially deplore three things:

1) The fact that some of the major news media included it as an "official site" in the winter and spring of 2008, lending a legitimacy to it because the news organizations themselves never bothered to do a few simple checks. I personally emailed a couple of these news agencies to inform them that they were contributing to a problem. No response of course, nor did I ever see a retraction/correction printed or online.

2) The fact that the IOC and some of the National Committees have known about beijingticketing.com and its brethren sites for some time, and for whatever reason decided not to enforce immediately trademark restrictions that these sites were clearly violating. I think they are a bit late out of the blocks on this one--the horse has already bolted from the barn.

3) The fact that the Chinese/BOCOG are being blamed for this. While they can be blamed for a lot of sins of 2008 Games preparation, the scam sites located outside China aren't one of them. The Chinese aren't responsible for server hosting, supporting, ordering from, or processing payments from beijingticketing.com, and had no power to do anything meaningful.

I was curious about this site last November, and after perusing it for less than 5 minutes, I noticed a variety of "red flags", here's a sampling:

--the contact number listed in the UK but a "registered address" in Arizona, which was reported to be the office of a lawyer at that time

--poor composition in terms of grammar, spelling, etc.---hardly what you expect from an "official" site

--a bogus logo that is NOT the BOCOG stylized "jing" character, and easy to tell the difference

--a comparison to the official website that shows event sessions that don't jive, and seat categories also not matching up for various events

--a policy that in the event of event cancellation or inability to deliver you tickets, only provides for voucher for future credit from them, and not a full refund (!!!)

--most importantly, a reference to their parent XL & H, which when googled, came up with a variety of complaints and comments about their various online ticketing businesses, not to mention a bunch of arab/pakistani/other middle eastern names as programmers--which at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, struck me as a bit odd. XL & H (Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality) had already had many complaints against them from their other websites, with respect to concert and other sports events tickets in the UK. By December of 2007, this was well reported.

On the travel boards I participate in, I put in my opinion that this was a big scam as soon as the mention of beijingticketing.com (and related sites) was raised. So did others, particularly those in the UK. The ones who had already put their money down, most of us advised them to immediately try to get it back and to get chargeback if they had used credit card. I can only hope at least a few people woke up early and listened to us months ago.

My research last fall took 15 minutes on the internet, and led me to believe it was clearly a scam, as was any sister site that had anything to do with XL & H. Plenty of others came to the same conclusion and avoided these people like the plague. I cannot fathom why anybody contemplating forking over serious cash for the promise of future tickets didn't invest the same tiny amount of upfront time. No amount of lawyers, class-actions suits, etc brought in after-the-fact will ever substitute for some healthy upfront skepticism and shouldering personal responsibility for ones' own choices, even if those choices turn out to be poor ones. I am sorry for the losses, and I hope something can be recovered and the perpetrators caught.

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I have a bit different take on this situation, and some of you are not going to like it. Most of these people scammed could have avoided the situation simply by doing their homework, and not putting Games enthusiasm and blind faith ahead of common sense. This site has been a known scam site for many months (actually, since at least autumn of 2007). I especially deplore three things:

1) The fact that some of the major news media included it as an "official site" in the winter and spring of 2008, lending a legitimacy to it because the news organizations themselves never bothered to do a few simple checks. I personally emailed a couple of these news agencies to inform them that they were contributing to a problem. No response of course, nor did I ever see a retraction/correction printed or online.

2) The fact that the IOC and some of the National Committees have known about beijingticketing.com and its brethren sites for some time, and for whatever reason decided not to enforce immediately trademark restrictions that these sites were clearly violating. I think they are a bit late out of the blocks on this one--the horse has already bolted from the barn.

3) The fact that the Chinese/BOCOG are being blamed for this. While they can be blamed for a lot of sins of 2008 Games preparation, the scam sites located outside China aren't one of them. The Chinese aren't responsible for server hosting, supporting, ordering from, or processing payments from beijingticketing.com, and had no power to do anything meaningful.

I was curious about this site last November, and after perusing it for less than 5 minutes, I noticed a variety of "red flags", here's a sampling:

--the contact number listed in the UK but a "registered address" in Arizona, which was reported to be the office of a lawyer at that time

--poor composition in terms of grammar, spelling, etc.---hardly what you expect from an "official" site

--a bogus logo that is NOT the BOCOG stylized "jing" character, and easy to tell the difference

--a comparison to the official website that shows event sessions that don't jive, and seat categories also not matching up for various events

--a policy that in the event of event cancellation or inability to deliver you tickets, only provides for voucher for future credit from them, and not a full refund (!!!)

--most importantly, a reference to their parent XL & H, which when googled, came up with a variety of complaints and comments about their various online ticketing businesses, not to mention a bunch of arab/pakistani/other middle eastern names as programmers--which at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, struck me as a bit odd. XL & H (Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality) had already had many complaints against them from their other websites, with respect to concert and other sports events tickets in the UK. By December of 2007, this was well reported.

On the travel boards I participate in, I put in my opinion that this was a big scam as soon as the mention of beijingticketing.com (and related sites) was raised. So did others, particularly those in the UK. The ones who had already put their money down, most of us advised them to immediately try to get it back and to get chargeback if they had used credit card. I can only hope at least a few people woke up early and listened to us months ago.

My research last fall took 15 minutes on the internet, and led me to believe it was clearly a scam, as was any sister site that had anything to do with XL & H. Plenty of others came to the same conclusion and avoided these people like the plague. I cannot fathom why anybody contemplating forking over serious cash for the promise of future tickets didn't invest the same tiny amount of upfront time. No amount of lawyers, class-actions suits, etc brought in after-the-fact will ever substitute for some healthy upfront skepticism and shouldering personal responsibility for ones' own choices, even if those choices turn out to be poor ones. I am sorry for the losses, and I hope something can be recovered and the perpetrators caught.

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I would agree with JieJie.

My enthusiam to obtain a opening ticket clouded my skepticism ability.

In any case, off to Beijing tomorrow armed with some tickets obtained via CoSport

but primarilly from good old eBay.

I'm sure everone will enjoy the Beijing Olympics.

Good Luck

Bryce

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While this was going on, my local and national news networks have reported that some events "have lots of empty seats." This is starting to become a broken record for the last few Olympic Games: Supposedly the overall event is "sold out", but the actual attendance of these events looks average.

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