Counterfeit Theater Tickets in New York

Counterfeiters are making tickets for the Broadway show "Hamilton."

Counterfeiting is much easier when the person you're passing the fakes off to doesn't know what the real thing is supposed to look like.

Posted on January 18, 2016 at 1:36 PM • 18 Comments

Comments

stevenJanuary 18, 2016 2:17 PM

...or when they post photos themselves on social media waving said ticket! (including barcodes or other 'security' features)

BenJanuary 18, 2016 2:24 PM

It also doesn't help that the tickets have no standard form. Print at home tickets look different from box office tickets look different from Ticketmaster. And the tickets themselves aren't particularly difficult to reproduce.

Boston DumbJanuary 18, 2016 4:23 PM

Yeah, cozening and cons are much easier when the victim doesn't know what the real thing's supposed to look like. Back home in Boston, economic dependence on the CIA market makes statist media panic when you get a peek at what the CIA is up to.

http://whowhatwhy.org/2016/01/14/boston-globe-freaks-over-jebs-accidental-deep-politics/

A political action committee quoted some guy they agree with. Problem is, this guy is guilty of thoughtcrime. Mere association with him taints the PAC, because this guy is officially a nut suffering from вялотеку́щая шизофрени́я, conspiracy delusional type. He is a nonperson and he is not to exist. He has been airbrushed out of the photographs.

Why? Because this officially crazy nut mentioned the government's summary execution of Ibragim Todashev, who knew the designated Boston Marathon Bomber and knew how the government ran the poor bastard as an informer and provocateur before they blew him away and framed his little brother. Factcrime! Doubleplusungoodthink!

If the people of Boston ever learn how CIA made fools of them, those fake state troopers and Boston cops will wind up with their heads on sticks.

LesJanuary 18, 2016 6:35 PM

Had a similar thing happen to a group when I drove a tour bus in Santa Barbara, Ca. The group, all wealthy people, were dropped off at the downtown theater in LA. After going in and sitting down to wait for the performance to start, other people started coming in and telling them that they were sitting in their seat. The problem was discovered and the group had to leave. I was to pick them up in three hours and was parked about three miles away at a restaurant in the Wilshire area. I arrived back to try to find a parking place an hour before the show was to be over to find the frustrated group had been sitting on the curb for two hours. I still remember what the first lady said upon getting on the bus: "Where have you been!".

James BJanuary 18, 2016 7:05 PM

I have the same complaint about all the supposed security enhancements to US currency. It doesn't seem to do much to stop counterfeiting and it makes it almost impossible to know what a real US bill looks like.

stevenJanuary 18, 2016 8:30 PM

@James B: my bank does something similar with their ATMs every once in a while. Most recently added without warning some new plastic "anti-fraud" device around the card slot that protrudes and doesn't match the rest of the machine's fascia.

hermanJanuary 18, 2016 9:07 PM

...and how are we supposed to know this is the right blog? I have no idea what Bruce really look like!

k15January 18, 2016 10:04 PM

It's a good thing that important businesses never make this mistake.

(If their website security seems like it's out to lunch, is it more likely that they really are out to lunch, or that you're already on a fake website?)

Is there a way that businesses could address this problem of customers not knowing what the process should be, or would doing so just make it easier to make a better fake?

rJanuary 18, 2016 10:21 PM

@James B.,

I know what a tell U.S. Dollar looks like: I own several "rug pulled out from under the initial investor" silver certificates. :)


@steven,

And this is why you tug at the fascia of all ATM's that I meet. (Won't help with wire-parasitized skimmers) But to your point it's not even that those stickers are authentic... how about "all proceeds go to your local mob." ?

WmJanuary 19, 2016 8:41 AM

@James B:
There is no problem with criminals creating and circulating counterfeit money. The Federal Reserve Bank is generating huge amounts of counterfeit money every day anyway.

EuryaleJanuary 19, 2016 1:09 PM

@k15: I mean, the businesses could make it more difficult to counterfeit their tickets but do they really have any motivation to do so? The business is already probably pretty well protected because each ticket has a unique bar code that they scan when you're to be seated. We're really talking about increasing buyer security in the secondary market. The venue could care less.

In fact, the ease with which the tickets can be counterfeited is good for their objectives. They don't want their tickets to be resold and, in fact, most tickets these days stipulate that if they're resold they become worthless. Fear, uncertainty, distrust in the secondary market is a good thing, as far as they're concerned.

JasonJanuary 19, 2016 1:42 PM

You don't have to authenticate the ticket if you can authenticate the seller.

If you do this sort of transaction using a system that allows buyer and seller to contest the purchase -- PayPal, credit card, personal check, really, almost anything but cash -- you can just stop payment if the deal goes sideways.

The only thing cash has going for it is anonymity. If you're paying with cash, ask yourself "who benefits from anonymity here?" If it's the other guy, watch out.

albertJanuary 19, 2016 2:18 PM

@Wm,
Those beelions of fiat dollars are only entries in a database somewhere.
.
@Euryale,
You're very cynical, but probably correct.
.
. .. . .. --- ....

CarmenJanuary 19, 2016 6:03 PM

I don't know if it still works the same way, but when I visited Hollywood in the 90s I was told the standard way to get tickets to a TV show taping was to go to the Chinese Theater and look for a guy offering tickets. It seemed kind of shady except that he didn't want anything for them, so in the worst case we'd waste some time lining up. There was no way to tell whether this was an official distribution channel but in the end it did work.

TRXJanuary 20, 2016 9:11 AM

> You don't have to authenticate the ticket if you can authenticate the seller.

The core problem is "more than one seller."

In my area theaters still sell their own tickets; there's no other source. But you can get concert tickets from several places. The proliferation of sellers not obviously affiliated with the provider is the problem.

The secondary problem is that people go to "Tickets-R-Us" and buy a ticket instead of to the concert hall's web site. Which might not actually sell tickets, but could direct you to their authorized vendor via https if their web designer wasn't so ignorant or lazy.

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