SALT LAKE CITY - As thousands of fans made their way into the Maverik Center for the One Direction concert Thursday night, two teenage girls had to make their way out.
“I started crying. I was pretty sad,” said Eva Serio.
She and her cousin had just sat down for the show when another group of girls came by with tickets to the same seats. Serio was told to go to the box office, where she learned her tickets were duplicates.
“There had been tickets that had been printed more than once and sold more than once,” said Serio.
The two tickets got them through the doors, but were nothing more than bogus copies.
“I was pretty angry because I knew how bad she wanted to go,” said Serio’s cousin, Goldie Grosgebauer.
Brenda Serio said her daughter wasn’t the only one turned away from the show, though. While her two tickets looked legitimate, she and other parents, whose tickets proved faulty, discovered they all came from the same retailer.
“There were a lot of girls in line,” said Serio. “They had the same FedEx and the same paper documentation as I did.”
The Serios shelled out nearly $3,000 for four coveted seats at the concert. They were all bought on May 22 from a ticket retailer called Ultimate Ticket Shop, which Mike Serio had found online.
“When I placed the order it very looked legitimate, which anyone can do I guess,” Serio explained.
He found the website through another site, LocalTicket.com, which lists tickets for other sellers, like Ultimate Ticket Shop.
FOX13 tried reaching the phone numbers listed on UltimateTicketShop.com. We received no answer from the man listed as the company owner and found two other lines were disconnected.
The company, which appears to be based in San Diego, Calif., currently has pricey tickets listed for the One Direction concert in Seattle.
“The crooks are getting very good at disguising themselves as legitimate operators,” said Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce.
The department is now investigating the company, which Giani said underscores how important it is for consumers to be on the lookout when shopping online.
“You’re making a big investment with that,” said Giani. “You ought to do the same research you would do to any other big investment.”
Mike Serio has filed a claim with his credit card company, and has also made contact with the original website he visited, LocalTicket.com.
According to him, the company requires proof that the venue refused to accept the tickets. If they receive a letter verifying his story from the Maverik Center, Serio said it is likely they will reimburse him.
“It makes me sad that somebody would take advantage of little girls,” said Brenda Serio.
In order to avoid future ticket scams, Giani advises consumers to contact the promoter of an event to find out who the approved ticket outlets are before purchasing a seat.