LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A popular WAVE Country summer fun spot may be a scam victim, and the incident is begetting even more victims.
Excitement is building at Kentucky Kingdom as people wait to get into the park. However, that excitement was crushed for some, when their newly purchased season passes refused to scan.
"I purchased it through a mutual friend," Linsey Buckner said when asked where she got her passes. She said she paid a friend $200 cash in exchange for five season passes for her nieces and nephews.
"When they scanned it, they noticed that a barcode was coming from a stolen credit card and my vouchers were connected to that credit card," Buckner said.
Kentucky Kingdom officials sent an alert around late Monday night announcing that thieves stole out-of-state credit cards to purchase hundreds of season passes, then sold them to local buyers "at a significantly discounted price." Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Kingdom reported that 11 stolen credit-card numbers were used to purchase 640 passes (worth $38,000), "but that number could grow as the investigation continues."
They also said Buckner is one of hundreds of people who fell victim after purchasing those discounted passes from an unidentified third party.
"We discovered that there were several hundred passes that were purchased through stolen credit cards," Kentucky Kingdom owner Ed Hart said.
The early-bird price for a season pass is currently $59.95. That price ends Tuesday night, meaning that thousands of people have utilized the discount to buy season passes in the past week. Hart said that has made it easier for scammers to blend into the crowd.
"We are working with the fraud unit and we will find who they are," Hart explained. "Most of the cards are from out-of-state; this may rise to the situation of FBI because it is a federal crime."
As the park works to track down those responsible, it is also dealing with several others who were just looking for a good deal. Devonte Snellen bought two passes from a man he walked past in his neighborhood.
"He was offering Kentucky Kingdom season passes; we knew it was the last day approaching," Snellen said. "I jumped on it. I did."
The park offered both Snellen and Buckner an extended time period during which they can purchase passes at the early bird rate of $59.95. After Tuesday at midnight, prices for an individual season pass will increase to $99.95.
Kentucky Kingdom is taking this chance to remind people that legitimate tickets can be only purchased at local Kroger locations, at the park itself or online at www.kentuckykingdom.com.