NEW YORK (WABC) -- The hit Broadway musical, "Dear Evan Hansen" has won six Tony Awards. And this week, it's the hottest ticket on Broadway. That's because the play's brightest star, Ben Platt, has announced this Sunday will be his final performance.
Tickets for this week's shows have been sold out for months. That's why an Eyewitness News viewer and theater fan thought he hit the jackpot with cheap seats on the internet. But the reality was he wound up getting scammed.
These days in front of the Music Box Theatre, you'll see a line of fans camped out. A ticket to "Dear Evan Hansen" is so hot, fans are willing to wait out in the cold for hours, in case any house seats become available.
Blair Russell's a big fan too. The professional stage manager wanted to see the sold out show before Tony Award winner Ben Platt leaves the production this Sunday,
"Everyone talked about this being a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Russell.
But he didn't camp out. His search led him to a Craigslist ad promising orchestra seats a few rows from the stage for that night's show. And the price was rock bottom, just $250 each. For orchestra seats, that's lower than face value.
Blair took the bait, and the seller texted him to meet up in Midtown. That's where Russell says he wound up paying even less for the pair, just $400, an unheard of price since some orchestra seats go for $400 per seat.
"He looked like a regular guy," said Russell. "And he didn't seem like anything sketchy."
But at the box office, just before the curtain went up, Blair got bad news. Instead of his tickets getting scanned, he found he was scammed. Both his tickets were bogus.
"When they went to scan, they said, 'Sorry those are fake tickets,'" Russell said.
Burned, and then incensed, Blair said he later saw the same ad pop up on Craigslist, for the same seats, same price. He set up his own sting and had a friend call the seller, snapping photos at the meeting place.
"I took out my camera and took pictures from across the street," said Russell.
The NYPD told us they have an ongoing investigation regarding this alleged scammer. But Blair wanted to warn others not to waste their money in their eagerness to see the show.
Some big takeaways here -- before buying on the secondary market, use a reputable, established ticket seller. Be wary before buying from strangers. It may be common sense, but Blair lost hundreds because he was trusting of someone he'd never met before.
And pay by credit card or PayPal, never use cash. You'll have zero recourse if there's a problem.
And a very important warning, don't take the law into your own hands. We have the victim working with detectives, and they will handle any confrontations. You never know if someone has a weapon, so it's not a good idea to try your own sting.
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Broadway buyer beware: How to avoid phony 'Dear Evan Hansen' tickets
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