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District Attorney's Office Warns About Scam Food Events

Post Date:12/20/2018 9:30 AM

Before loosening your belt and opening your wallet for the next all-you-can-eat event, make sure it’s not the latest bottomless scam. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is warning residents to be cautious about buying tickets to food festivals boasting such treats as "All You Can Eat Pupusas" or "Bottomless Brunch and Never-Ending Mimosas."

The District Attorney’s Office cautions that some food events recently promoted locally and in other states never happened - leaving ticketholders hungry and without refunds. Sometimes the phantom events are not food-related, such as fun runs. Crab feed cons and sushi fest scams have been promoted throughout the country, including San Jose, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Chicago. Tickets can cost between $15 and $105 for "VIP" treatment.

For example, a "bottomless brunch" event complete with "juicy prime rib, steamed crab, decadent cake and bottomless champagne!" was promoted with a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper for January 6 and on Facebook for January 13. No such events are scheduled. Law enforcement believe it is a scam.

Law enforcement believe the scammers advertise for the events on Facebook and some legitimate publications, pocket the ticket proceeds through PayPal and Shopify, and then disappear before victims realize there is no such event.

Some tips to avoid falling for the scam:

  • Research the event and organizer: Does the website look professional? Are there typos and sparse details about the event? Is there a contact name and telephone number?
  • Check with the venue to see if the event is scheduled.
  • Check the refund policy.
  • Pay by credit card or other form of payment that has some form of fraud protection.

What to do if you have already paid money:

  • Contact the payment processor or credit card company to see if you can get a refund.
  • Change your credit card number as it may have been compromised.
  • Call the Santa Clara Police Department at (408)615-4700 or the District Attorney’s Consumer Mediation Unit at (408) 792-2880 to file a consumer complaint.
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