How did a Fairfax man know he had purchased $650 worth of fake tickets for the Washington Wizards playoff game Thursday night?
Specifically, a bar code was 11 numbers, instead of the proper 14, Fairfax County police said.
The small printing error touched off an investigation that led police to charge three New York City men for selling counterfeit tickets.
The men who were hawking the tickets via Craigslist were arrested after officers set up a meeting with them under the guise of purchasing tickets, police said.
Fairfax County police had received another complaint from a man who had purchased two tickets from the men for $350, police said.
The man noticed illegible writing in red letters once he got the tickets home. After contacting Ticketmaster, the man determined the tickets were fake.
Keith S. Neal, 21, William Powell, 23, and Jose Lopez, 21, were charged with obtaining money by false pretenses and uttering a forged document.
Police said anyone purchasing tickets outside official sources should inspect the tickets closely.
If there are doubts, contact the Wizards sales office at 202-661-5050 for more information.
Police said there may be other victims, who do not realize their tickets are fake.
The Wizards issued a fraud alert for 2014 playoff tickets on May 2.