Papal Tickets Scam Targets Hispanics

Elderly parishioners at the St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York were offered fake tickets to see Pope Francis when he visits in the fall. (Photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Creative Commons license)

Elderly parishioners at the St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York were offered fake tickets to see Pope Francis when he visits in the fall. (Photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Creative Commons license)

During a visit to her church, St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York, in New Jersey, Carmen Cordero was tempted to pay $35 for a ticket that supposedly would allow her to see Pope Francis in Yankee Stadium come September.

“The guy, who said his name was Mario, offered it to me and said that it included transportation and admission, but that we had to buy it before Aug. 1 because after that date it would cost $75,” said the 74-year-old woman.

The only thing that prevented her from buying the ticket was that she did not carry enough cash with her. This chance saved her from being scammed because the pontiff’s agenda for his next New York visit is still unknown.

“When he offered it to me I believed him, and my heart was filled with emotion because this pope has really touched me with his words,” said Cordero.

At least three senior parishioners were offered tickets.

“Truth be told, none of us bought them because we only carried money for alms for Mass. I think that’s why we did not fall for it, because the man sounded very convincing,” said another parishioner who is 85 and would only identify herself as Inés.

Rev. Nelson, of the aforementioned church, said that they haven’t heard anything about the subject, but that they would take the necessary measures to warn parishioners. “We will make an announcement in the church bulletin and during Mass,” he said.

News of the fraud attempt reached the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said: “It is simply terrible that some unscrupulous individuals are trying to take advantage of Pope Francis’ next visit by defrauding the parishioners.”

(…)

Meanwhile, Joseph Zwilling, director of communications of the New York Archdiocese, said that it’s too early to talk about the pope’s activities in the Big Apple.

“The agenda is still up in the air and the only thing we know almost for certain is that he will visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” he said. Although he confirmed that the pope will celebrate a massive Mass, he pointed out that the Vatican has not provided any specifics.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Bamboozled: Want tickets for Pope Francis’ U.S. visit? You don’t have a prayer | NJCREA

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