Beware that not all things on Eventbrite can be trusted! A San Francisco chef was recently alerted to a phony wine dinner being advertised at his Noe Valley restaurant, and it took a few days for him to get Eventbrite to pull it down.
Chef Telmo Faria, chef-owner of Portuguese restaurant Uma Casa in Noe Valley, posted to Instagram and reached out to BrokeAss Stuart to say that a customer had messaged him to ask a few questions about an upcoming five-course dinner, advertised for February 8. The scammer(s) had apparently taken an image from a flyer for a dinner the restaurant hosted in October with a Portuguese wine producer, advertising this five-course dinner with tickets for sale on Eventbrite — saying tickets were $22-$62. (That should have been the first clue this was fake, as the original dinner cost $125 per person.)
The scammers also set up an account on Eventbrite using Uma Casa's name and info, making this look more legit.
Faria tells BrokeAss Stuart that he immediately reached out to Eventbrite, and so did the customer, but of course there was no way to reach customer service directly. It took a couple days, but then he checked and saw that the event had disappeared — though having never heard back from Eventbrite, he wasn't sure if the company removed the listing, or the scammers just pulled it down themselves because people were asking questions.
"I imagine this isn’t an isolated event," Faria tells BrokeAss. "If I hadn’t found out, we might’ve had people showing up expecting a 5 course wine dinner."
Right, and he won't know until Wednesday, the 8th, if some people unknowingly gave the scammers money and no one told them it was canceled/not a real event.
This situation calls to mind one from a few years ago, when a fly-by-night drag outfit was selling tickets to drag "dinners" at Oasis in SoMa — something that Oasis never offered until the pandemic — without Oasis's knowledge. Former Oasis partner Heklina reached out to the media at the time because of difficulties she had getting Eventbrite to yank the events.
Eventbrite has an FAQ type page about avoiding ticket fraud, however they point to social media as the culprit for luring people in. "If you work at a venue or throw shows, stay vigilant: Monitor social media (especially your Facebook events) closely, especially if a show is in-demand and likely to sell out," the page says, but does not address the possibility of bogus events on the Eventbrite platform itself.
Long story short, you may want to reach out to venues directly before purchasing tickets for such things, especially if seem too good/cheap to be true.
Photo courtesy of Uma Casa