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Ticket buyers worried Halloween event posted on Facebook could be hoax

Woman contacts News4Jax after buying 'Jacksonville Haunted Booze Cruise' tickets

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are concerns that a fun Halloween event being advertised in Jacksonville could be a hoax.

Several people who bought tickets for a "Haunted Booze Cruise" listed on Facebook contacted News4Jax, saying they wanted to warn others of the potential hoax.

A Google search shows a similar event in Seattle, where a company with the same name is advertising a "Haunted Booze Cruise."

The "Jacksonville Haunted Booze Cruise" Facebook Event page shows it is being hosted by a company called NightMare Cruises out of Chicago. News4Jax did a Google search for the company and could not find a website listed. News4Jax also checked with the Better Business Bureau and no results came up.

According to the Facebook page, the Jacksonville event is scheduled Oct. 26 and tickets are listed for $70. There are also "Haunted Booze Cruise" events in other cities across the country that are listed for the same day on Facebook Events.

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On Tuesday, Ashley Stubbs showed News4Jax the tickets that she said she received after she booked the "Haunted Booze Cruise" with her family and friends. She said she saw the event posted on Facebook, originally stating on the page that it would take place at The Marina at Ortega Landing on Oct. 26. But Stubbs said she quickly realized that the cruise might not be real after calling the marina with questions about the event. 

"We called them. They had no clue. They said it was a scam, that they've had been many phone calls in regard to this," Stubbs said.

Stubbs said she then noticed the actual ticket had a different address for the event, the JaxPort Marina.

"The tickets came with another address for the Jacksonville port," Stubbs said. "We called them to see if they had information and they said they had no idea, they had several phone calls and that it was a scam and that we should contact our bank."

As of Tuesday, the Facebook Event page did not have a specific address listed. There was also limited information. There was a number listed at the bottom of the ticket checkout page that goes to a company called Special Events Management in Chicago. News4Jax called Tuesday, but no one answered. Stubbs said she did reach the company.

"I called the number. She had no idea of this event and had nothing to do with it," Stubbs said.

Stubbs also said comments are also deleted off the Facebook Event page, which people who thought about buying tickets said was a red flag.

"You can't get in touch with them. They won't answer questions. You can message them, they won't answer you. But you cannot get on their event page and ask a question," potential customer Dana Corcoran said.

Corcoran said she tried several times to buy the tickets, but the company kept coming up with excuses and pushing back the times the tickets would be available for purchase.

"I had contacted the marina that they had put an address on and the marina knew nothing about it," Corcoran said.

Internet security expert Christopher Hamer said he also noticed several red flags, including that there is hardly any contact information on the Facebook Event page.

"Anytime you would order something off the net, you would expect there's a company name, that there’s some sort of return policy that charges will be made by so and so -- nothing," Hamer said. 

WATCH: Internet security expert shares the red flags you need to look out for

Hamer said the best thing to do is to report the event and the company to Facebook, so the social media site is aware of the possible hoax. He said anyone who has purchased tickets should call their bank to file a fraud claim, since a company that is potentially not legitimate could have their credit card information. 

Stubbs said she has filed a fraud claim with her bank.

"We were excited to go. It was going to be a fun time and on top of that, now they’re messing with our money and we’re trying to fight to get our money back," she said. "I don’t want anyone else to get ripped off. People are going to show up on Oct. 26, looking for a good time, and there won’t be anyone there."

The Marina at Ortega Landing posted a statement on Facebook, saying it knows nothing about the "Haunted Booze Cruise."

"The Marina at Ortega Landing is not hosting a Haunted Booze Cruise nor will a third-party organizer be allowed to operate said cruise from this marina. If you have seen the event posted on Facebook or online ticket sites, please be very cautious about purchasing tickets. The Haunted Booze Cruise of Jacksonville had previously published the Marina phone number in conjunction with its advertising," the statement reads, in part.

News4Jax also reached out to the Chicago event company and the ticket company listed, but had not heard back as of Tuesday evening. 


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