HAYWARD — A diehard San Francisco 49ers fan is going to the Super Bowl after she was duped out of thousands of dollars in an online ticket scam.
Sharon Osgood and her boyfriend had recently wired $5,900 to a person who was apparently a Baltimore Ravens fan for tickets to the big game after seeing a posting on Craigslist, the San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/XQuW1l) reported Tuesday.
But when a FedEx package arrived on Monday, instead of the tickets, Osgood received pictures of Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, along with a taunting note that said, "Enjoy the game!!!! Go Ravens!!! LOL."
However, after the story ran, Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard called the Hayward resident to offer her four free tickets to Sunday's game in New Orleans and breakfast with NFL hall of fame quarterback Troy Aikman.
"My heart literally was in my throat; it was fluttering — I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening.' I can't put into words how grateful I am," a tearful Osgood, 49, told the newspaper.
In addition, the 49ers are giving her a pair of tickets because Osgood wants to bring other family members, the newspaper said. Osgood said they planned to hop in an RV and drive cross-country to New Orleans Tuesday night.
A four-year season-ticket holder who has paid thousands of dollars to reserve seats in the team's new Santa Clara stadium, Osgood is still out the $5,900 she and her family gave to a scammer they met on Craigslist. Osgood said the man told Osgood and her boyfriend that he was a tax attorney in Boca Raton, Fla., and a Ravens season-ticket holder who couldn't make the game because his wife was pregnant.
He said they had four tickets and told her to wire $5,900 for them, which Osgood and her boyfriend agreed to after emailing, texting and talking on the phone with him over the course of a week, she said.
"We pooled all our money together to do this so we can go, and then to get scammed like this, it's just the worst feeling in the whole wide world," Osgood said. "The past 24 hours have been the worst, because we just trusted this guy and we thought it was going to be OK."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Tuesday that the league hears sad stories like this occasionally over the years.
"It's buyer beware, unless you are buying the tickets directly from the team or the NFL, or from an authorized seller," McCarthy said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello also said Tuesday that fans should make sure the seller is a reliable source. He said fans also can check the ticket and make sure it has a hologram that shows the Super Bowl logo at all times and the New Orleans logo when viewed at an angle. Also, the colored back text will match the color of the front ticket art.
McCarthy offers yet another warning to fans still trying to attend the big game in the Big Easy.