In a move to combat ticket scalpers, organizers for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics plan to enlist fake shoppers to catch people illegally reselling Olympic tickets.

The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) has vowed to take a hard line against scalping of tickets, so the use of “secret shoppers” is a bit unusual but no surprise. People caught scalping tickets for more than face value will have those tickets invalidated, meaning whoever bought them might find themselves unable to enter an event.

“For us, it is not a revenue-generation issue because we’ve already got our money,” Vancouver Olympics ticketing Vice President Caley Denton told “It is a consumer protection issue,” he said. “You get people who … end up with an invalid ticket and it is a very traumatic and disappointing experience for someone.”

The question will be just how far the committee will go in searching for scalpers, and whether the group will go after established, legitimate brokers. The recent Beijing Olympics had several instances where fans ended up without of tickets after being scammed or discovering that brokers who promised them tickets could not deliver them.

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Several Web sites have been listing Vancouver Olympics tickets for weeks, so organizers would team an army of secret shoppers to ferret out the scalpers.

Ticket resale is not illegal in British Columbia, but VANOC has added language to its tickets that stipulate tickets cannot be resold for more than face value. “There is no way anyone on [a website] can guarantee that any of the tickets are legitimate,” Denton told “They may have a money-back guarantee, but that’s little solace to people when they come up to an event trying to get in and they don’t get in.”

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