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‘Seeking Swift Justice’: Filipino Swifties scammed of almost 15 million pesos in ticket scheme, demand accountability

In a twisted symphony of deceit, a notorious scammer has cast a sinister shadow over the dreams of numerous Filipino Taylor Swift fans, leaving devastation in the wake of a fraudulent concert ticket scheme. With almost 15 million pesos plundered from over 100 victims, this malevolent manipulator, currently in what victims refer to as his ‘cruel summer era,’ has not only stolen their hard-earned money but also shattered their dreams of witnessing the iconic Taylor Swift live in concert.

Victims of this elaborate ruse share harrowing stories of manipulation and deceit, as they fell prey to the scammer’s believable tactics. The fraudster cunningly presented a facade of legitimacy. The scammer provided victims with convincing proof, including contracts, identification documents, orchestrated video calls, and even fabricated stories of high-profile individuals purchasing from him. Moreover, influencers and politicians are also enticed by this scammer’s empty promises. The elaborate charade involved showcasing transactions with influencers and politicians, further adding a layer of believability to the scam.

The promise of experiencing the grandeur of the ‘Era’s Tour’ in Singapore became the linchpin of the scam, ensnaring victims in a web of deceit that ultimately led to dreams shattered and financial devastation.

‘Seeking Swift Justice’: Filipino Swifties scammed of almost 15 million pesos in ticket scheme, demand accountability
via Taylor Swift’s Instagram

Victim Testimonies: Voices of Betrayal

In an exclusive interview with POP!, several victims shed light on the harrowing experiences they endured at the hands of the scammer. Each story serves as a testament to the calculated nature of the deception and its devastating impact on the lives of those affected.

Victim 1:

Si [scammer] pala yung main na source. So si [scammer], he gave me all the requirements that I needed completely like the contracts. Complete with IDs. Like yung IDs may signature. Like yung contract may sign din, and everything. [The [scammer] turned out to be the main source. So, [scammer] gave me all the necessary requirements, such as contracts. Complete with IDs. The IDs even had signatures. The contract also had a signature and everything.]”

Pero meron kasi siyang screenrecord. Pinapakita niya yung mga screenrecord na, ‘Oh tignan mo ‘to si Influencer A. bumili siya sa akin, and legit nakakausap niya talaga. At yung mga influencers, same with the politicians are also scammed. Lahat kami ngayon naghahanap ng tickets. [The scammer has a screen record. He shows the screen recordings like, ‘Oh, look at this, [Influencer A] bought from me, and the scammer really talks to me legitimately. And the influencers, same with the politicians, are also scammed. All of us now are looking for tickets.]”

The scammer cunningly poses as a sympathetic figure to console individuals who have fallen victim to scams or purchased overpriced tickets. The primary objective is to gain the trust of these victims and subsequently persuade them to make new purchases through the scammer’s deceitful schemes. The strategy involves offering false comfort while convincing the targets to buy tickets exclusively from the scammer. On the other hand, the scammer claims association with renowned influencers, presenting them as supposed clients who have also allegedly opted for the same flights. This elaborate ruse aims to exploit the victims’ vulnerability and desire for a positive resolution, ultimately leading them into a renewed cycle of deception orchestrated by the scammer.

“It’s really traumatizing for us kasi we are passionate talaga, legit to see Taylor Swift. It may sound funny to other people but, this was our dream. Hindi lang yung pera yung ninakaw sa amin, pero yung pangarap namin na pinag-ipunan namin nang napakatagal. [It is really traumatizing for us because we are truly passionate. It’s legit to see Taylor Swift. It may sound funny to other people, but this was our dream. It’s not just the money that was stolen from us, but also the dream that we worked so hard to save up for such a long time.]”

Victim 2:

“I had a terrible transaction with the [scammer]. ‘Yung transaction namin kasi is November last year. November 22. That’s the day na nakaroon kami ng transaction and I am on a call with him. Just you know, to complete our transaction. He also showed me yung tickets, and then same with [Victim 1], the [scammer] also mentioned big names, so it made me convince na ‘Ah, I will yung ticket from him.’ Other than that, yung student ko before, nag-vouch siya kay [scammer], kasi friend sila eh. Kaya nag-vouch siya na ‘Yes legit si [scammer], and then yung mga local concerts ganon din yung mga ginagawa. Kumbaga yung business ni [scammer], nagsi-sell siya ng ticket, and legit daw yun. [I had a terrible transaction with the [scammer]. Our transaction happened in November last year, specifically on November 22. That is the day we had the transaction, and I was on a call with the scammer to complete it. The scammer also showed me the tickets, and like [Victim 1], the [scammer] mentioned big names, which convinced me to buy the ticket. In addition to that, my former student vouched for [scammer] because they were friends. So, my student affirmed that ‘[scammer] is legit,’ and mentioned that the person also organizes local concerts as part of ticket-selling business, claiming it to be legitimate.]”

Victim 3:

Nung binili ko po ‘yung ticket, birthday ko, November 24 last year. Akala ko sobrang legit niya. Lahat ng IDs niya pinakita niya, nakampante kami nagv-video call pa kami tapos pinakita niya sakin sa computer niya yung mga tickets nung nag-log in siya sa Ticket Master. Naka-log in yung Ticket Master niya, ewan ko kung totoo.Tapos in-story niya, so nakita namin, akala namin legit. [When I bought the ticket, it was my birthday, November 24 last year. I thought it was very legitimate. The scammer showed all IDs, and we were at ease. We even had a video call, and showed me on the computer the tickets when the scammer logged in to Ticket Master. The scammer’s Ticket Master account was logged in, I don’t know if it’s true. Then the scammer shared the story in social media, so we saw it, and we thought it was legit.]”

Victim 4:

Ang ginawa ko, nagpa-vouch ako nang nagpa-vouch sa mga fb groups, andaming nag-vouch sakanya. Yung mga nag-vouch salanya, mga legit na tao. Mga maraming followers sa Facebook. [I requested vouches in Facebook groups, and many people vouched for him. Those who vouched for him are legitimate individuals with many followers on Facebook.]”

Hindi lang yung [scammer] yung binackground check ko, pati yung mga nag-vouch na rin. Tas kinausap ko sila isa-isa. Yung mga nag-vouch sakanya, naka-transact niya na sa mga shoes, sa concert ticket ng Twice. [I did not just conduct a background check on the scammer; I also checked those who vouched for the person. Then, I spoke to them one by one. The ones who vouched for the scammer had transactions, such as buying shoes and Twice concert tickets.]”

Ang nag-convince sa akin, meron kasing isang tao na nag-vouch sakanya na binigyan ako ng assurance na talagang malakas siya na tao na willing siyang ipakulong si Pat kung sakaling aanuhin niya kami. Pero ang nangyari pala is na-scam na rin pala siya. Nakabili kasi siya ng shoes don kay [scammer] [The one who convinced me was a person who vouched for him, giving me assurance that he is indeed a strong person who is willing to put Pat in jail if he messes with us. However, what actually happened is that he also got scammed. It turns out he bought shoes from [scammer].”

Victim 5:

Gaya nila [other victims], may mga influencers na pinakita sa akin si [scammer]. Ang nalabas kong pera sa kanya, 50%, dalawang ticket yung binili ko sa akin, para sa amin sana ng partner ko. 114k, pero 50% lang, so 57k yung nakuha niya sa akin. [Like other victims, the scammer showed me influencers. The money I gave to the scammer is 50%. I bought two tickets for us, intended for me and my partner. It amounted to 114k, but only 50%, so he got 57k from me.”

Victim 6:

Maraming nag-vouch sakanya. Kaya inalok ko doon sa ka-work ng husband ko. Kasi avid Taylor fan, swiftie siya. Kaya sabi niya ‘Sige Ma;am, kunin ko na rin po ‘yan. Tas na-refer niya rin sa friend niya. [“Many people vouched for the scammer. That is why I offered it to my husband’s coworker. Because she is an avid Taylor Swift fan, a Swiftie, so she said, ‘Sure, Ma’am, I’ll take that. And she also referred it to her friend.”

So bale, apat na VIP 2 pina-reserve ko kay [scammer]. Yung unang 49,000, nagdagdag pa ako ng another 49,000 bale 98,000 na yung na-downpayment po namin. [“So, in total, I reserved four VIP 2 tickets. The initial 49,000, I added another 49,000, so our downpayment amounts to 98,000.]”

Words of warning for concert-goers

The skilled scammer recently exploited unsuspecting victims by employing a unique tactic that set him apart from conventional fraudsters. In addition to assuming his own identity, the scammer went the extra mile by presenting genuine addresses, providing official identification documents, and even furnishing legitimate-looking contracts. This unexpected twist in the modus operandi added a layer of credibility that deceived victims, making them more susceptible to the scam. The incident is a stark reminder that individuals with malicious intent can still manipulate trust and deceive others regardless of stringent identity verification measures.

In the wake of this devastating scam, victims have issued cautionary advice to fellow concert-goers. “Do not rely solely on vouches or endorsements, even from celebrities or influencers,” warned Victim 3.

“Be very vigilant and conduct thorough background checks, as anyone can fall victim to deception,” advised Victim 4. These words of wisdom serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of exercising caution when navigating the murky waters of ticket sales in the digital age.

A Dream deferred

The road to recovery will be long and arduous for the victims of this elaborate scam. What began as a dream to see their idol perform live has morphed into a nightmare of deceit and betrayal. However, amidst the despair, there remains a glimmer of hope that justice will prevail and that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be brought to account.

As Filipino Taylor Swift fans come to terms with the harsh reality of their losses, they stand united in their resolve to seek justice and prevent others from falling prey to similar scams in the future. In their quest for closure and restitution, they serve as a poignant reminder of the enduring power of resilience in the face of adversity.


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