PORTLAND, Ore. - Just hours after the BCS computer picked Oregon as the No. 2 team behind Auburn, many Duck fans were making plans to set up a trip to Glendale, Arizona, for the January 10 national title game.
Local travel agency Azumano Travel said they have been inundated with ticket and travel plan requests.
Online, Internet scammers are apparently also ready and waiting.
Posts on Craigslist and eBay hawking tickets and travel packages sprang up immediately after the BCS show aired, and one man found what is definitely a scam waiting to snare an unlucky Duck.
Craig Mitchelldyer, a local photographer, was quick to go online and find some tickets. He found what looked like a good deal, four tickets to the game for $2,100.
Tickets for the matchup are already topping over $1,000 for choice seats, so Mitchelldyer contacted the seller, who requested he pay for the purchase through eBay.
But Mitchelldyer noticed the seller was also a fellow photographer located in San Diego, so he looked up her business on the Internet. It seemed like the deal was on the level.
After Mitchelldyer sent his eBay information, which did not include any money, personal or financial information, an official-looking invoice arrived from an eBay email address.
But now, the seller’s name had changed to Jill Richards, and the location of the seller was in Britain, not San Diego.
Mitchelldyer knew he was dealing with a scammer when he checked his eBay account and there was no actual eBay invoice for the tickets in his account mailbox.
The eBay email was false – but a good impersonation – and the final tip-off was a request for payment through Western Union, the international financial service favored by online thieves everywhere.
Funds sent through Western Union are difficult or impossible to track, and once sent, can rarely be recovered.
Anyone buying anything online should stop a transaction if payment through Western Union or any service that “wires” money internationally is requested, online experts say.
The photographer in San Diego, when contacted by KATU News, said she had no game tickets to sell and did not know what the “BCS” was.
Online security experts advise ticket buyers to stick with proven resellers like StubHub or to work with local sellers you can deal with face-to-face.
And, buy your tickets with a credit card if possible as there are likely buyer protections built into your purchase from the credit card provider.
Mitchelldyer is still in the hunt for some seats in Glendale, but he warns that online scams could rip off fans that are less computer and scam-savvy than he is.