Saturday 21 September 2019

'I’m just broken up' - Mother devastated as she's scammed out of money while trying to buy All-Ireland final tickets

An aerial shot of Croke Park
An aerial shot of Croke Park
A packed Croke Park for the 2018 final. Photo: Sportsfile
Stock photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The exterior of Croke Park.
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A woman who was scammed out of €420 as she tried to buy All-Ireland tickets has said the conman even promised the children with her a free tour of the stadium before he vanished with her money.

Speaking on RTE’s Liveline radio show, Siobhan, not her real name, said the man had initially offered her two Cusack stand tickets at face value for this Sunday’s Dublin v Kerry clash when she contacted him through Adverts.ie. 

“After we exchanged phone numbers he explained he would only give them to someone who he trusted and would not sell them on for a profit.  

“He claimed he was a solicitor, but got a job working in the GAA and had spare tickets for the final," said the Kildare woman.

“He wanted to ensure that his tickets didn’t fall into the hands of touts, and would only sell to genuine fans.”

Asked why she wanted the tickets, Siobhan explained that it would mean the world to her 14-year-old daughter, whose father had been an avid Dubs fan before he passed away. 

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The exterior of Croke Park.

They spoke over the phone for more than an hour and even agreed to exchange social media accounts as an extra precaution. 

The following morning the two arranged to meet at Croke Park so the tickets could be handed over. 

The conman added that he now had three more tickets and asked if she knew of any “genuine fans” who would be interested in one premium and two Hill seats. 

READ MORE: 'This is a new one on us... hopefully nobody has been sucked in' - GAA warns against email scam for All-Ireland final tickets

Speaking to Independent.ie, Siobhan said she immediately contacted some friends who were “over the moon” at the offer and accepted right away.

“It came to a total of €420 for the five tickets at face value,” she said. 

“I told the man that my daughter was so excited about the tickets and that she couldn’t thank him enough. 

“He even said he had an extra surprise for her and sent her a video from outside the Cusack Stand showing where he said she would be seated on Sunday. 

"I had no reason whatsoever to doubt his authenticity,” she said. 

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A packed Croke Park for the 2018 final. Photo: Sportsfile

On arriving in Dublin, Siobhan, who was minding her neighbour’s three children at the time, met the man outside James Gill’s Corner House at 1pm.

“He was very well-dressed - and even promised the kids that they could have a tour of the stadium afterwards,” she said. 

“He explained that he shouldn’t really be selling the tickets and his job in the GAA would be at risk if anyone found out.

“We then walked to the GAA ticket office on Dorset Street and asked if we could sit in the outdoor seating area of a café a few doors down while he got them.”

Siobhan then handed him the €420 before turning her back to check on the children she was minding. 

“That was the last I saw of him. After about 25 minutes of waiting, I knew something wasn’t right and I started to get very concerned. 

“I then tried to ring his phone, but it was turned off. I also noticed that he deleted his Instagram account.

“I could not believe that I had fallen victim to this scam, because I’m usually so careful about these sorts of things. 

“I contacted the gardaí and they were well aware of who this man was and assured me that they would investigate it.

“I’m just broken up by this, not for me, but for my daughter.

“I still haven’t the heart to break the bad news to her yet. She’s going to be absolutely devastated.”

Asked if she had a message for anyone interested in buying tickets for the All-Ireland Final online, Siobhan said: “These people go to great lengths to scam you and gain your trust so you can’t be careful enough.

“I just hope my story will save others from falling victim to this scumbag and others like him,” she added.

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Stock photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Meanwhile, the GAA has warned against a scam involving the All-Ireland football final.

Emails are being circulated purporting to offer corporate facilities for Sunday’s clash.

Using a company address in London the well-designed order form invites interested parties to purchase 18 tickets at a cost of €2,500. It claims that first-class facilities will be enjoyed in a corporate box.

The email has been sent to various GAA clubs and other units, while it’s also understood that some companies in the competing counties have been contacted.

“It’s a scam from start to finish,” said Alan Milton, the GAA’s director of communications.

“We’ve been made aware of the fake emails claiming to have All-Ireland hospitality at suite level.

“Croke Park does not use any third-party providers for hospitality offerings and, anyway, all the suites are in long-term contracts,” he said.

A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí are investigating a suspected incident of fraud that occurred on Dorset Street, Dublin, on Tuesday the 27th August.

“No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing.”

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