Monday 17 October 2016

To become... mum: how I fell for a Paw Patrol scam

I like to think that I have some level of common sense and that I wouldn't fall victim to fraud or scams. I mean, a lot of them a pretty obvious, aren't they? Emails from suspicious addresses claiming to be your bank, dodgy looking letters... surely I couldn't be convinced by something so clearly fake.



On Tuesday morning, bleary eyed, I headed downstairs to make a cup of tea and had a scroll through Facebook and any notifications I'd had over night, as I usually do when I'm waking up and getting set for the day ahead. Someone had tagged me in a post and my eyes widened as I read about a children's event that I just HAD to get tickets for.

Ethan is a big Paw Patrol fan; he has all the toys, he knows all the words to the songs and he has a backpack and hat and scarf which he wears with pride. The event in question was for Paw Patrol Live - coming to the UK for the first time, on a fun-packed tour to a few cities and with the chance to meet the pups themselves.

Amazing. You often hear about character appearences at toy store etc. and this sounded like a great event and something that any Paw Patrol fan shouldn't miss out on.

Within minutes, I had clicked through, filled in my details including the names for each person for the tickets, and purchased three passes to Paw Patrol Live. It all looked like any other ticketing site I had been on and the barcode tickets and confirmation I received via email straight away all seemed as they should.

I rushed upstairs to tell my little man just what Mummy had been doing and his face lit up, as I knew it would, when I told him about the Paw Patrol party. Just a month to wait...

All seemed well - until I received an odd email later that afternoon, when I'd just got to Asda to do some food shopping before picking up Ethan from preschool.

This is what it said:

We are emailing everyone who has purchased tickets for our Paw Patrol event taking place in Birmingham to confirm we have been forced to cancel the event due to threats and racial abuse to our staff and the venue who are uncomfortable with the situation. 
Although Facebook is a fantastic platform for us to promote our event's it also has a small number of users who think they can hide behind a browser and bully and abuse people which in this case has worked for them.
We are issuing full refunds with immediate effect and depending on your bank it may take up to 7 days to show up in your account.
We are more than happy to reply to your emails but please note it may take some time due to the amount of enquires we have been getting.
Anyone who continues to spread lies or make false allegations about our business will face the full force of the law and our legal team are ready to recover our costs of cancellation due to a select number of people.
Thanks for your time
Team Intu

Alarm bells started ringing.

So, in the Asda aisles, I quickly got my phone and went onto Facebook and tried to find the original page I'd been on - and   others  to my shame - to see that the original page had been removed and that several sites were reporting the event as a scam. In the days that followed, even the national press, including The Sun, picked up on the story so there was no denying what happened.

I called the bank straight away and they said until the item had cleared from pending onto my statement, they couldn't do anything, but two days later I called back and was able to send evidence to the debit card dispute team. The advice from Lloyds is that they will respond within three working days and then if they feel there's sufficient evidence that the 'goods' I was buying were not going to be provided to me, they would refund the amount to my account within a further three days.

Some light at the end of the tunnel.

And I know it could have been far worse; greater sums of money, longer to realise what was happening.

But I was so angry. And upset.

It took me twice as long to get around Asda upon learning the news, as I felt so confused and silly and just really really downbeat. I had tried to do something nice for my son, my three and a bit year old, and I'd been taken for a fool. I'd believed a silly scam and acted first before really thinking or looking elsewhere. I just had to get the tickets.

And I guess that's the whole point, isn't it? The people who conned me and possible hundreds of other parents made an offer that for parents of little ones was too good not to snap up.

That's what makes me so upset and has left me feeling quite shaken, if I'm honest.

I could do without the wasted money, to be fair, but it's the thought of letting my little boy down. Of getting his hopes up. Of disappointing him. Of showing him that sometimes in life, there are bad people who take advantage.

He was so excited when I first told him about the event but luckily he hasn't mentioned anything since.

It's just left me feeling really bad for him. It's not right that people prey upon the vulnerable - in this instance, loving parents who would do anything to make their little people happy.

A lesson learned. One I won't forget, and one I hope that Ethan doesn't have to know about.



  1. How awful! I'm so sorry this happened to you - had I seen that I'd probably have done the exact same thing. I hope they get to the bottom of this, it's a disgrace.

    1. Thank you and me too! Still feel a bit foolish but I've learnt a lesson from it all

  2. I'm so sorry for you and your poor little boy! I have a 2 year old little mad who is also a huge Paw Patrol fan - I'm just glad I didn't see the promotion or I'm sure I'd have done the same as you. I hate stuff like this - it's vile. Big hugs to you and your little one xxxx

    1. oops - I meant little 'man' not 'mad'! Freudian slip perhaps!


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