Sharon Osgood of Hayward and her boyfriend are heading out to the Super Bowl, despite the fact that they were scammed out of nearly $6,000 when they thought they were buying the prized football tickets on Craigslist.
Turns out, she actually ended up a winner.
The Mercury News, which first reported her story, said that Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard called her to offer her four free tickets and set her up with breakfast with NFL Legend Troy Aikman. A 49ers representative is giving her a ticket, too, because Osgood wanted to bring her nephew's girlfriend. Her boyfriend's daughter and her nephew are also going.
"I am so super excited," Osgood told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon. "I can't tell you how blessed I feel. We were crushed, and then we were elated."
Osgood's fortune has taken a happy twist. Her tale, at first, was a sad one.
She was scouring the Internet looking for good deals on Super Bowl tickets, so that she could see her beloved San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans on Sunday.
She found an offer on Craiglist. She said someone named "R. Thomas Pham Quan" was selling four tickets for $5,900. He told her that he was a tax attorney in Boca Raton, Fla, and a Baltimore Ravens season ticket holder. She said she texted and spoke on the phone with this person for four days, she said. She wired the money to the man's credit union, and on Monday, she received a FedEx package. But there were no Super Bowl tickets inside.
But instead of tickets, Osgood was sent a picture of quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco with a message underneath that read: "Enjoy the game!!!! Go Ravens!!!
On Tuesday, the phone number she had been using was no longer working, but she said she filed a report with the Alameda County sheriff's department late Monday. A spokesman for the sheriff's office wasn't immediately available to confirm the details.
But she said the person sounded so convincing and she felt she sort of "knew" him because they had so many phone and text conversations about the transaction.
"I trusted the guy," she said.
Craigslist warns that buyers should not wire money directly to sellers. Best practices in this online marketing world are that buyers and sellers who connect on Craigslist should meet in public places and pay in cash. Buyers and sellers on sites such as eBay should heed seller's ratings listed online, which reflect their number of successful transactions, and pay through PayPal, a secured site owned by eBay.
Osgood was initially worried about going public with her story. But now, she's happy she decided she put a face on her saga. Not only did she score free tickets, but she said she wants to prevent others from falling prey to ticket scammers.
"Who knows? Maybe they scammed other people too," she said. "I won't ever do this again."