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2010 Organizers on lookout for ticket scammers

VANOC determined to keep tickets with official suppliers



Organizers of the 2010 Olympics are considering legal action against some Internet ticket purchasers.

“We have seen a couple (of transactions) that were very suspicious,” said Dave Cobb, vice president of marketing for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games.

“They are being bought by ticket scalpers and they are with our legal people to see what our rights are not to sell to them.”

What VANOC and the International Olympic Committee say they don’t want to see is 2010 tickets for sale on the Internet through unauthorized sources. Only Jet Set Sports and sister company CoSport are authorized to sell Olympic tickets.

It was a hot topic during the IOC’s recent coordination commission visit.

“…It is very much a co-coordinated effort to protect consumers not only in Canada but around the world to make sure they don’t get taken by ticket scalpers, especially following what happened in Beijing,” said Cobb.

Leading up to the Summer 2008 Games in China thousands of people around the world were duped into buying non-existent tickets for the Games. In one case a British based rogue broker Xclusive went bust after selling 18,000 tickets.

It has been estimated that the Beijing scams globally cost Olympic fans close to $10 million.

The IOC and the United States Olympic Committee launched a lawsuit last July to shut down .

“The IOC can’t stress enough the importance of purchasing tickets through official and authorized sources only,” said IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau.

“Sadly, there are some fraudulent dealers who are out to cheat fans, something we deplore.

“The IOC works closely with Games organizers and National Olympic Committees to try, as much as possible, to stay ahead of fraud schemes and remind sports fans to be sure to buy from authorized outlets.”

The first phase of ticket sales for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler closed last Friday. Another round of tickets will be offered in the spring but many of the most in-demand tickets will be gone.

The danger on the Internet takes different forms. Some rogue brokers say they have tickets when they have none. Others have historically received tickets from sport organizations and Olympic sponsors that they don’t want. According to the BBC, the IOC reportedly investigated several national Olympic committees, including the U.S. and Switzerland, for re-selling some of their tickets to the Sydney 2000 Summer Games.

The Swiss Committee did not return an e-mail inquiry on the issue and the American Committee said a spokesperson could be available at a later date.

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