A woman who was scammed when trying to buy a ticket to Sunday's championship final at the Tim Hortons Brier still got to attend the game of a lifetime thanks to a generous offer from Curling Canada.
Marion Wells asked her daughter to look for tickets when it became clear that Team Newfoundland and Labrador was going to make it to the final. That's when they spotted an ad on Kijiji from a Gander woman, who claimed to have some to sell.
"This missus posted that she had four tickets and she couldn't make the game because of a family emergency and was selling four tickets for $400," Wells told CBC's On The Go.
"She said she would put them on the DRL [bus] Saturday morning."
Wells's daughter sent a $400 email transfer to the person who posted the ad, but planned on holding the password until they received the tickets.
Then on Saturday, Wells got a message from her sister, telling her about a scam warning she had seen on a Facebook page called Buyers Beware, that lists potential scams to watch out for. Sure enough, the warning about the person from Gander matched up exactly with the ad that Wells had responded to.
Unfortunately, by the time Wells called her daughter, it was too late. The password had been sent and the money had been received.
Another man scammed
They went to meet the DRL bus anyway, but their fears were confirmed when no tickets arrived. They even met another man who also fell for it.
"There was another guy who was out where the DRL stopped, and he was waiting two hours for the exact same tickets. The only thing is he didn't send out the money," Wells said.
"So how many more people did she scam? If it even is a she, we don't know."
After going to both police and the bank involved, Wells said they were told they have a case and may be able to trace the transactions to the person who scammed them. However, she said it will require getting a warrant and they were told it could take more than a year to sort everything out.
Curling Canada to the rescue
Devastated, Wells's daughter took a chance and wrote Curling Canada, who oversees the Brier. She explained what had happened, hoping they could come through and help her mom — which they did.
"A little while later they messaged her back and said they have one ticket for me for the game," she said. "I couldn't believe it."
Wells said it was a woman named Donna – whose husband is the head of the organization – that helped them out. Wells actually sat next to her for the whole game, and even though it was only one ticket instead of the four they wanted, she is forever grateful.
"She [my daughter] knew it was going to be a long-shot, but we really wanted to go," she said. "It was electrifying, it was amazing. You really, really had to be there."
In the meantime, Wells said her daughter will think twice before taking someone online at their word.
"Unless she can go and pick up tickets and pass the money at the same time, she would never do it again. It is a hard lesson to learn, but unfortunately that happens too often to people," she said.
"She trusts everything, but she said 'never again.'"