VANOC defended its online fan-to-fan marketplace yesterday after last month’s revelation that a group of Latvians scammed $2 million by reselling tickets purchased with fraudulent credit cards.
The scam is blamed for the late payout of a couple hundred transactions.
Deputy CEO Dave Cobb said the scam was credit card fraud and wasn’t directly tied to the ticketing system that enabled people to resell tickets they couldn’t use.
“It was simply stolen credit cards that were used that could have been used to purchase anything,” Cobb said, following a VANOC board meeting.
“Obviously they saw the level of activity that was going on in our fan-to-fan site and thought they could ram as many transactions through as quickly as they could, probably expecting to get caught.”
Olympic organizers were made aware of the scam in the final three to four days of the Games. They contacted police and refused to allow any new accounts.
“We knew that the way gold medal hockey was going that it would have likely led to several times the level of fraud that occurred in the period we caught it,” Cobb said.
In March, Vancouver Deputy Chief Steve Sweeney told Metro that police got ahead of the scam and arrested four Latvians when they went to pick up the tickets.
Approximately 200 of the 13,000 fan-to-fan accounts were affected, resulting in late payments. The remaining 220 cheques will be mailed out this week.
VANOC is out of pocket $2 million. The organizing committee hopes to recoup some or all of the loss through its insurance provider, Visa and Visa-issuing banks.