Police investigate as Coldplay fans turned away in Montreal, duped by fake tickets

MONTREAL — Many Coldplay fans in Montreal hoping to catch their final show in the city Wednesday night were turned away, the victims of an apparent online fake ticket scam.

City police said Thursday they received 17 complaints at a downtown police station near the Bell Centre.

One of the duped fans said others she met who'd also been hoodwinked had similar stories: they'd seen advertisements on popular classified site Kijiji and had met a man in person for the exchange.

Eva Romano said she purchased her two tickets in April, paying a man who claimed to work for a U.S. ticket broker $100 each for two fake tickets that were valued at $40 each.

She said in an interview that while her ticket seemed authentic, it actually contained a bar code for a previous Montreal concert involving Green Day and she was turned away.

An employee at the arena said although the tickets looked legitimate, they were in fact fake.

"The person had changed a few informations (details) on the ticket to make them look real because it did look like a real ticket," Romano said.

When she arrived at the police station, Romano said she and a friend were surprised to see they were not the only ones.

"There was a group of about 20 people filing reports and everyone had a similar description of the person," she said. "A lot of us had similar versions of the story and a lot of the people were from different parts of the province and had met the man in the last few weeks and months."

Romano said after exchanging stories with others who were filing complaints, they believe they were duped by the same person. One of the alleged victims even had a picture of the man.

Montreal police Const. Manuel Couture said it was too early to say whether all of the cases are linked to a single suspect.

The concert's promoter, evenko, said it encourages buying tickets from the box office or authorized vendors and steering clear of third party sellers like resellers (scalpers) or online classified sites.

"It's impossible for us to determine the validity of a ticket purchased from an unauthorized reseller before the event," said spokesman Philip Vanden Brande in an email. "The validity will be confirmed at the door, at the moment of the event.

"Buying tickets from unauthorized vendors and resellers (scalpers) means putting your trust and your money in the hands of a stranger and that it represents a risk of fraud," he added.

As for Romano, she won't being purchasing tickets through the site again.

"I think it's the first and last time, totally," she said.

Coldplay played sold-out shows at the Bell Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday.

- Follow @sidhartha_b on Twitter.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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