New Vikings ticket scam: Real tickets, altered seat locations

A new stadium for the Vikings. And a new ticket scam.

Starting with the Green Bay Packers game, Minnesota Vikings officials noticed a new scam: victims would pay scalpers for PDF tickets, but once inside the stadium, they'd find those purported seats occupied.

The con? The scammers sold real PDFs of tickets, but altered the seat locations to make them appear closer to the field.

“This one’s a difficult one because the barcode will scan when you go in,” said Lt. Kim Lund, a Minneapolis police officer who has long investigated ticket scams. Lund said she’s never seen this scam in Minnesota until this season; about 20 to 30 people have been scammed at each home game this season.

On Monday’s night game against the Giants, one victim bought three tickets for several hundred dollars each; the tickets said “section 106,” but the barcode was for section 310.

Another victim, James Magnuson, told Fox 9 he and his friend paid $100 each for a pair of tickets after the game had started, and became suspicious when the man selling the tickets did not try to negotiate. To assuage their concerns, the seller allowed the friends to make sure the tickets scanned before accepting money.

“They worked. They worked at the scanner,” Magnuson said. “We paid the guy.”

But Magnuson realized something was wrong when he got to his “seats.” “We get down there, go to sit in our seats, and there are people in our seats. I go up to them, ‘are you in the wrong section, are we in the wrong section?’”

Magnuson soon found himself in a line with others, talking to the police about their tickets.

Lt. Lund told Fox 9 that before she received complaints at the Vikings season opener, she had first heard about the altered-ticket scam from Oklahoma City investigators who saw the con at NBA games.

To avoid getting scammed, police have always recommended requesting sellers to accompany buyers to the gate to ensure the tickets scan. However, in the new scam, the tickets do scan — so even this tactic won’t avoid the scam.

“The only place you’re guaranteed to have a seat when you’re coming to a Vikings game is to purchase from the Vikings ticket office, NFL ticket exchange, or TicketMaster,” Lt. Lund told Fox 9. She also recommends taking a picture of the seller.

Investigators believe three people are involved in the scam outside U.S. Bank Stadium. Magnuson told Fox 9 the man who sold him the tickets was tall, had a shaved head, and a bike with Christmas tree lights on it.