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ZooTampa, Tampa police warn people of fake 'hot air balloon festival' event on Facebook

Tampa Police warning people not to buy tickets
Posted at 3:36 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 07:46:44-04

TAMPA, Fla. — ZooTampa at Lowry Park and Tampa police are warning the public of a Facebook scam.

The zoo said there is a scam that is encouraging people to buy tickets to a "hot air balloon festival" for this weekend.

The event and its promotion are fake, the zoo said. The promotion is believed to deceive victims into purchasing tickets.

"We had contact with the hot air balloon community. They had never heard of this event. Upon further research, this is something they've been doing throughout the country...these fake hot air balloon events," said Sandra Torres, Sr. Director of Communications and External Affairs with ZooTampa.

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ZooTampa is working with police and officers are investigating the fraud. The event has also been reported to Facebook.

Thousands of people showed interest in going to the fake event and it has been shared hundreds of times on social media.

"That event page takes you to a website where you can purchase tickets to the event and we know nothing about the organizers," said Torres.

Zoo officials are asking the public to be aware that official zoo events are always listed on the zoo's official Facebook page and website.

Anyone who purchased tickets through the fake Facebook page should consider contacting their credit card company to report the fraud. Purchasers should consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Bryan Oglesby, Director of Public Relations with the BBB, said people should report scams to their online scam tracker.

"The more we can get information out there, we can warn the public and keep people from falling victimized to these types of scams," said Oglesby.