News Column

Investigation into unauthorized credit card charges ongoing

August 1, 2014

By Scott Waltman, American News, Aberdeen, S.D.



Aug. 01--An investigation into unauthorized charges appearing on the credit card bills of some people who bought Brown County Fair grandstand entertainment tickets online is still ongoing, according to the state.

There have been roughly 50 reports concerning the charges, said Tom Schmitt, chief deputy with the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Whether the ticketing website used by the fair is a common denominator is being looked into by the state Division of Criminal Investigation.

Schmitt said the state DCI has taken the lead in the case. A spokeswoman for the agency said only that the investigation is ongoing.

This is the first year the county has sold tickets exclusively online. Even tickets purchased at the fair office, for instance, are bought through the EZTicketLive website, said Amy Scott, fair manager. But, she said, grandstand entertainment tickets have been sold online before, just not the way they are this year.

In return for providing the service, EZTicketLive charges modest fees on ticket sales to offset its cost.

Scott said she hasn't heard about the status of the investigation, but fair officials are taking the matter seriously. She said EZTicketLive was properly researched before the county agreed to work with the ticketing company. The common denominator in the unauthorized charges could be a store or a gas station, she said. And even well-known ticket services, such as StubHub, sometimes have problems.

Attempts to contact EZTicketLive were not successful.

Scott said fair ticket sales have been strong and she hopes the potential problems don't discourage fair-goers. Paying by cash or check is also an option at the courthouse or fair office, she said.

She said the unauthorized charges were addressed promptly, and the proper authorities informed, even though no public announcement was made until a few days later at the July 22 commission meeting.

The day fair tickets went on sale, the EZTicketKing website crashed. That was a hassle and resulted in lost sales, at least on that day, Scott said.

After the fair is over, she said, the online ticket sales process will be assessed.

Duane Sutton, chairman of the Brown County Commission, echoed that comment. The concept of online ticket sales is popular, so it will likely continue in some way no matter the result of the investigation, he said.

One thing that will be different next year, he said, is the county will be able to accept and process credit card orders internally instead of an outside company like EZTicketLive having to do it, he said.

Follow @ScottReports on Twitter.

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(c)2014 the American News (Aberdeen, S.D.)

Visit the American News (Aberdeen, S.D.) at www.aberdeennews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Aberdeen American News (SD)


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