BART ticket deals likely too good to be true

The black market for BART tickets is alive and well on Craigslist, but the transit agency said there is a good chance buyers will receive a ticket they cannot use.

Every day, people sell BART tickets on the cheap through the popular Internet marketplace. In a listing posted Monday, a seller claimed to have 10 tickets worth $48 apiece and hoped to sell each at a $6 discount.

Another seller posted a listing Tuesday claiming to have $416 worth of BART tickets and $390 worth of commuter checks to sell. The offer: $600 for all.

“Selling two high value BART tickets each holding $64-worth for $100 FIRM,” another post from Tuesday said. “Can meet up around Civic Center BART or City Hall during normal working hours of 9-5.”

Many sellers are not breaking the law. They might simply be trying to unload tickets they can no longer use.

However, there are crooks using stolen credit credits to purchase BART tickets for resale, according to the transit agency.

Last week, a San Francisco woman told officers at the Ingleside Police Station that fraudsters purchased 11 BART tickets, each at high value, using her credit card. The woman was alerted by her bank. Police suspect she dropped her wallet or had it swiped during the commute home.

Cheap BART tickets on Craigslist might seem like good deals, but transit agency spokesman Linton Johnson said buyers should beware. Banks and police departments regularly report fraudulent purchases to BART, and it can track down the transactions and void the tickets.

Each ticket has its own serial number that can be traced via the credit card transactions, Johnson said.

“It’s really easy for us to block the ticket,” he said.

Riders trying to use one of the blocked tickets at the fare gates will not be allowed through and will be told to see a station agent, much like when a ticket has insufficient funds, Johnson said.

BART staff and its police force monitor Craigslist after receiving fraud reports from banks and customers, he said.

At times, they do “spot checks,” Johnson said, meaning staffers will investigate ads offering an unusual number of tickets for sale.

The agency would not reveal how much money it loses to fraud annually so as not to encourage crooks, he said.

To throw off scammers, BART regularly alters the number of times a credit card can be used to make ticket purchases at stations in a day. And changes are made to the number of tickets that can be bought in a day on the system.

Craigslist representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Buyer beware

The following are examples of recent Craigslist ads selling BART tickets at a discount. Some are offered by sellers who cannot use them anymore. Others are allegedly sold by credit card thieves.

– Selling two high value BART tickets each holding $64 worth for $100 FIRM. Can meet up around Civic Center BART or City Hall during normal working hours of 9-5.

– I have $390 worth of commuter checks and $416 worth of BART tickets. Combined $806. I’m willing to sell it for 75% of face value.

– Selling two high value BART tickets each holding $64 worth for $110 CASH ONLY. Can meet up around South San Francisco.

– I have some $48 BART tickets that I am willing to let go for $36. I can meet in the East Bay.

– BART tix: 2 x $60 —> $53 each; 10 x $48 —> $42 each; 1 x $35 —> $31 each

Source: Craigslist.org

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