INDIO, Calif. - The music festival seasons takes over the Coachella Valley this week. The first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival begins on Friday. Tens of thousands of people have their wristbands ready, while some are still looking for a ticket. It's prime time for online scammers.
"I've been looking forward to this since it ended last year." Erica Purdy could hardly wait for Coachella to arrive. Wristbands sold out for weekend one before she had the money, so she saved up from her part time job and went online to Craigslist. She found a seller she trusted and began to talk about the exchange. "You put money on it, and it's through Pay Pal, so I thought it was pretty legit that you could go and you wouldn't get scammed," said Purdy.
She put $400 on a Money Pak, or a reloadable debit card from Walgreens. She gave the code to the seller and that was the end. "She went on and activated it through Pay Pal and never contacted me again," said Purdy.
We called the number of the woman who took Erica's money and received an automated message from a free texting app for smart phones."It's incomprehensible to me that someone would do that someone would do that to a young impressionable young adult," said Lisa Purdy, Erica's mother.
Unfortunately, Erica's not alone. The Indio Police department says they know about several scams during festival season and warns people to be extra careful. "Just be sure that you're dealing with a person that it's all legitimate and that they have the documentation to prove how they purchased them," said Ben Guitron, the public information officer for the department.
Erica says she will likely never use Craigslist for tickets again and hopes her story keeps others from having to learn this expensive lesson. "I finally saved $400 and to have it just ripped away from me like that is heartbreaking."
Concert promoter says this on its website: DO NOT BUY passes from a 3rd party/Scalper. We won't service, authenticate or support passes purchased from a third party or scalper. We do not assist in any 3rd party transactions.
Indio police also ask anyone who's been scammed to file a report with their local police department.