A Houston woman who had been roped into using Flash Seats for her purchase of tickets to the rodeo and left nearly $1,000 in the account for future use was the victim of fraud, according to a story on abc13.com. The system, which Frances Dorgant thought secure, was apparently breached, with someone purchasing more than $800 in tickets to see the Houston Rockets using her account.
“It was basically bought, transferred, ding, ding,” Dorgant told KTRK of the incident. She only discovered the fraud when she signed in with the desire to purchase Rockets tickets for herself and found much of her balance already gone. “I want the people of Houston who use [Flash Seats] for things we love to be aware.”
After informing Flash Seats of what she believed was an illegal hack of her account, she was informed she would receive a refund for the value of the purloined seats. It is unclear if Flash Seats (or its parent AXS) have attempted or will attempt to track down the alleged scammer. Theoretically, a digital-first ticketing system should be hard not to leave a trail on, at least in terms of where the tickets were transferred to. One of the key points made on Flashseats.com regarding the merits of the system is that digital ticketing can “eliminate lost and stolen ticket issues.”
Calls to Flash Seats for clarification and comment went unanswered as of Friday early afternoon.
Dan Parsons, president of the Better Business Bureau in the area, told KTRK that consumers should always be mindful of checking accounts frequently to make sure that any breaches can be dealt with quickly. “What do we know what we have out here? We have a crook who is a sports fan, who’s using a new platform that may have had some security problems. Pretty brilliant.”
The story is the latest in a series of bad headlines for Flash Seats in Houston in 2018. Despite fans showing up 45 minutes before gates opened for the Garth Brooks show at the Houston Rodeo, system processing and fan unfamiliarity with the mobile-only ticketer led to massive lines at the gates. In March, another failure in the system led to many fans being locked out of a Houston Rockets game for much of the first quarter.
In addition to the refund she is reportedly going to receive from Flash Seats, Dorgant has filed a report with Houston police and the FBI on the fraud. But the incident has shaken her faith in the security of ticketing systems in the new digital-first age.
“I don’t know how else you buy tickets anymore. I would imagine if they can hack Flash Seats, they can do Ticketmaster, StubHub or anything else. I don’t know how we’ll go forward as a family buying tickets also,” said Dorgant.