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Local mother warns others after falling victim to a gift card scam

Local mother warns others after allegedly falling victim to a gift card scam
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jul 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-17 18:28:40-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Around his room, you'll find wrestling belts, action figures and DVDs. There's no question that Demetrius Trotter is a wrestling superfan.

So when his mother, Karen Trotter, learned the WWE was coming to town, she jumped at the opportunity to buy her son tickets to a match.

She said she Googled Ticketmaster and called a number she thought was for the company.

"I said 'he's totally wheelchair/bed-confined,'" she said. "'So, he has his own wheelchair,' I said, 'so, I just need an area for him to sit in where somebody can sit with him.'"

"He said 'well, I tell you what you'll do — is there a Ticketmaster close to you?' I said 'the closest place to me is Krogers,'" said Trotter. "I said 'it will take me ten minutes to get to Krogers,' and he said 'well, stay on the phone with me.'"

She thought she was paying $25 for each ticket to the show; it would have been a bargain.

"So I go in, and I had him on the phone. So, I ask the people in Krogers did they have a Ticketmaster and they said no," said Trotter.

She said that's when the man on the phone directed her to buy $250 worth of eBay gift cards instead. The money would be transferred to buy the tickets.

She read him the card numbers.

"He said 'well, they're not any good.' I said 'you're telling me I just purchased a card —' and he said 'well, you need to go to Walgreens.' He said 'how far is Walgreens from you?'"

That's when she realized the operator was a fake.

"The individual, they use psychology," said Lorneth Peters, Director of Marketing and Communications for BBB serving Middle TN and Southern KY. "They learn more about you while they're having that conversation and they know exactly what buttons to push to cause you to move forward with their request."

Peters said gift card scams have been on the rise in the past year.

"That is one of the easiest scams," said Peters. "Why? Because you can't track it. When the money is gone, it's gone."

Trotter said now the hardest part is knowing her son's dream was robbed.

"So now he keeps asking me 'mom, where's the tickets at for the wrestling?' and I don't know what to tell him because he's thinking that he's going to the wrestling and then he's not going to the wrestling because we've been scammed out of his money for him to go to the wrestling."

She hopes others may learn from her experience.

According to Ticketmaster's website, the company will never request that you wire funds, and it will never ask you to buy a third-party gift card.

If you feel you've been the victim of a scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Better Business Bureau. You can also spot trending scams near you using the BBB Scam Tracker.