It's been a record year for ticket sales for the Homegrown music festival in Wellington, but scammers are taking advantage of it.
Homegrown, the Kiwi music festival held on Wellington's waterfront every year, sold out six and a half weeks ago, with 18,000 tickets being snapped up.
Many who weren't in quick enough for their tickets are turning to Facebook for help, but are falling victim to unscrupulous scam artists.
A Tauranga man has taken his case to Netsafe after losing $600 trying to buy two tickets from people on social media.
"In both instances they were very responsive on Messenger before I paid, then once I proved payment they made an excuse claiming they had to wait until their 'smoko' break to email the tickets," the man said.
"Excuses and delays would continue and they would become less responsive in getting back to me when I query what the hold-up is to the point where they do not reply at all until I said I would be getting authorities involved.
"They would then respond to say they would refund me the money but would not say when."
The man said he still hasn't received his money and the men are still "not responsive" to his messages.
Meanwhile Wellington woman Tara Puketapu thought she would be getting two tickets for $300, but realised soon after sending the money that she had been caught up in a scam.
"I'm always very careful with buying online but this person was very cunning and tricked me into thinking they were trustworthy," she said.
The person, who was using a Facebook profile with pictures stolen from a stranger, posed as a young woman in Kerikeri.
"They sounded really lovely," Puketapu said.
The scammer gave her a fake work address and told her she could pick the tickets up in person.
"They do that to make you think 'Okay, if they want me to come pick up they must be okay, they must be a legit person'.
But after finding out the seller supposedly lived too far away, Puketapu agreed to do a bank transfer. The seller sent a screenshot to show the tickets were real.
After paying, Puketapu noticed posts from others on the Wellington Facebook page Vic Deals. At least three other people had apparently bought the same tickets from the same seller.
"They didn't just get me, they got a lot of people ... it's pretty upsetting that someone would do that and not even care [and] they think they can get away with it."
Puketapu has gone to the police over the scam, and also asked her bank to put a trace on the seller's bank account, which cost her about $100 to do.
"There are people who are commenting on the posts on Vic Deals saying that we shouldn't be buying on Facebook, that it's our fault, which is really unfair," she said.
"There is the marketplace on Facebook where people buy and sell, and pages all over Facebook where people safely sell goods. Getting scammed shouldn't be something we have to worry about. People should be honest.
"This particular person seemed genuine and used every tactic to lure you in and make themselves seem trustworthy. It's a soldout gig and the only way to get tickets is off others who are selling them for nearly double their worth. People are getting desperate and this scammer took advantage of that."
Puketapu said buying through Trade Me offered more security, but scalpers on there were trying to sell tickets for exorbitant prices.
Homegrown spokeswoman Kelly Wright said ticket scams made the event organisers "really angry".
"Lots of police complaints have been made ... [we're] crossing fingers there's not going to be too many people turn up and find out they've been scammed.
"We love selling out but this is a horrible bit about it."
A police spokeswoman was aware of at least one police report relating to Homegrown ticket scams, but said it was difficult to collate complaints.
Inspector Derek Orchard said police advise people to buy from official vendors.
"Sadly there will always be some people who try to use online sites, such as social media platforms, to scam and rip people off for money. Be aware there are risks with buying things off people you don't know. Purchasing off registered and proven trading businesses offers the purchaser a greater level of protection that buying through social media.
"We urge the public not to purchase goods from any non-reputable trading business without identity confirmation to a level you are satisfied with. Remember never direct money into another account without verifying who they are. It's not hard and you may regret not taking that little bit more time. If an offer seems too good to be true, it often is."
The festival is being held this weekend.