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Hundreds bilked by internet Beijing Olympic ticket scam

Hundreds of consumers worldwide are believed to have been conned out of money, credit card information and passport numbers by two online companies that promised to sell them tickets to the Beijing Olympics, officials say.

The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee won a restraining order July 23 in federal court in Phoenix that shut down one of the websites, www.beijing-tickets2008.com. On Monday, the committees plan to ask a federal judge in San Francisco for an order that would shut down www.beijingticketing.com, which remained active Friday.

IOC and USOC attorneys have been in touch with authorities, and the FBI may get involved, said USOC General Counsel Rana Dershowitz.

The sites said they couldn't deliver tickets until late in July, so many consumers didn't realize that they had been taken until it was too late.

Jonathan Murray said he was taken for $4,950 for tickets to equestrian events in Hong Kong -- a surprise for his fiancée, a professional equestrian. The couple plan to marry next week in Switzerland and honeymoon in Hong Kong. The trip is still on, and Murray managed to replace most of the tickets.

But he's somewhat embarrassed -- he works for a software company and manages a team responsible for dealing with Internet crime. "So it was quite amusing to everyone at work that I had been scammed on the Internet," he said. "The important point I'm making by talking about this is that this was a bloody good scam."


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