Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ticket Scam Hits Olympics

Greg Johnson writes in The Los Angeles Times:

Olympic officials have turned to the federal courts in a bid to shut down two online companies suspected of stealing money, credit card information and passport numbers from hundreds of people who thought they were buying scarce tickets to prime events in Beijing.

The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee won a restraining order July 23 in federal court in Phoenix that shut down one of the websites, On Monday, the USOC and IOC plan to ask a federal judge in San Francisco for an order that would shut down, which remained active Friday.

Attorneys for the IOC and USOC have been in touch with authorities, and "it is our understanding that there are discussions ongoing within law enforcement as to whether the FBI will become involved," said USOC General Counsel Rana Dershowitz.

Officials said they did not know for certain whether the operators of beijing-tickets2008 were out of business, or had simply shifted to a new online address. Both companies appeared to have been operating several related websites promising to deliver hard-to-find Olympics tickets.

The websites lured people in large part by their extensive -- and allegedly illegal -- use of logos that look very similar to the official Olympic ones. The websites' names also helped them appear atop search engine results.

More here.


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