Officials warn of Super Bowl ticket schemes

Advertisement leads to probe of business

January 23, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Federal and state authorities said yesterday that they are investigating a Baltimore County business accused of advertising bogus Super Bowl tickets that drew dozens of would-be buyers.

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the agency was probing a Pikesville-based business - operating as Sunshine Sports - that advertised it was selling Super Bowl tickets for $600.

At least 100 people called the company's toll-free number, and many gave credit card numbers to buy tickets that never existed, said Inspector Thomas E. Boyle, an agency spokesman.

Investigators do not believe anyone's credit cards have been charged for the tickets, but authorities do not know how many people might have sent checks, cash or money orders, Boyle said.

He said authorities were taking the unusual step of publicizing the investigation because tickets for Sunday's Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., are a "hot item," he said.

"It's really important for us to notify the public about ... scams," Boyle said.

Efforts to reach the company were unsuccessful yesterday.

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., whose office is assisting in the federal investigation, said Ravens fans should make sure they are dealing with a reputable ticket broker.

Curran also recommended that fans try to obtain their tickets before leaving for Tampa to see the Ravens play the New York Giants.

He said consumers should use credit cards to purchase tickets because they can more easily recover their money if they are victims of fraud.

If you believe you have been a victim of a ticket scheme, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 410-347-4380 or the attorney general's office at 410-576-6300.

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