Stupid People Purchase Fake Concert Tickets
From the Boston Herald
Instead of rocking with Bono and The Edge, hundreds of U2 fans were forced to "walk away, walk away" from the sold-out FleetCenter show Tuesday night when their scalped tickets proved bogus.
Some heartbroken fans broke down in tears as they were turned away clutching worthless pieces of paper they shelled out as much as $2,000 for.
You might think this was some fancy counterfeiting scheme, but no.
It took Whelan and his staff a while to figure out what was going on, but a pattern soon emerged. The counterfeit tickets mostly were computer printouts bought online from cyberscalpers.
Online tickets are a great convenience. They contain a unique barcode. You can print as many as you like, but the barcode scanners at the concert door will only accept each barcode once.
Only an idiot would buy a printout from a scalper, because there's no way to verify that he will only sell it once. This is probably obvious to anyone reading this, but it tuns out that it's not obvious to everyone.
"On an average concert night we have zero, zilch, zip problems with counterfeit tickets," Delaney said. "Apparently, U2 has whipped this city into such a frenzy that people are willing to take a risk."
I find this fascinating. Online verification of authorization tokens is supposed to make counterfeiting more difficult, because it assumes the physical token can be copied. But it won't work if people believe that the physical token is unique.
Note: Another write-up of the same story is here.
Posted on June 2, 2005 at 2:10 PM • 24 Comments