'Tis the season for holiday scams. Authorities say it's common to see an increase in scams at this time of year, and they urge community members to be extra cautious.
Like many others, Desiree Kim had the Cambria Christmas Market on her bucket list this year.
“I really wanted to go and it was going to be booked for the next few weeks," said Kim, who lives in Monterey County.
After seeing the words “sold out” attached to weekend dates for the event, Kim decided to try her luck on social media to see if anyone had extra tickets or couldn’t go anymore.
Someone messaged her saying they had two tickets available; all she needed to do was send $50. But her excitement over finding tickets quickly changed.
“He wouldn’t respond, and I didn’t get my tickets," Kim said.
She knew she had fallen victim to a scammer.
“If I would have paid attention I would have realized this was a duped account. All the information was added in just one day. If you look at the pictures, the dates. I was too excited. You know, you want to trust someone’s word, especially for a family event like this," Kim said.
The Cambria Christmas Market recently posted on Facebook, warning people to be wary of purchasing tickets from third parties.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Grace Norris said ticket scalping isn’t common in San Luis Obispo County, but it can happen on a small scale.
“Usually what we’ll see here is more small-scale people reaching out on Facebook or Instagram saying they have tickets to something and selling it to as many people as they can," Norris said.
Norris shared some tips to avoid scammers.
“If you are purchasing from an individual, we recommend if you are able to do it in person, we actually have safe exchange zones. We actually have one at the sheriff’s office where we have video monitoring so you’re able to have face-to-face interaction," Norris said.
Other safety steps include making purchases directly from the website or venue, checking the seller’s reviews, and asking for purchase verification.
If you fall victim to fake tickets or if you are scammed, you are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office or your local police department and include any information that can help build your case.
KSBY News reached out to the Cambria Christmas Market for comment on this story but did not receive a response by broadcast.