Brazilian SCAM at General Conference?

Remember these two cute Brazilian guys with their adorable smiles and awesome signs, desperate to score a few tickets, just so they could get inside the Conference Center to see and hear living prophets at last week's LDS General Conference?

As I was just arriving at conference myself, I immediately noticed these energetic young men, and actually asked them if I could take their picture and share it; they were happy to oblige!

Being the social media enthusiast than I am, I posted the picture on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, immediately! A lot of us were pulling for these guys, hoping that someone would come along and give them an extra ticket or two.

I mean, look at them!!!

Since then, not just one or two of you, but many of you have asked about them -- wondering if I ever heard if those cute Brazilian boys got a golden ticket? And frankly,  I'd actually wondered myself....

Strangely, these two cutie-patooties had captured our hearts! I realized this fairly quickly, because as I was listening to President Monson announce the new temple to be built in Rio de Janeiro, my mind soon thought about those boys and how much I hoped that some angel of mercy had answered their fervent prayers, and that they were able to be inside the Conference Center for that historic announcement. What a tender mercy that would be! Right?

I then thought how fun it would be to later run into them and get to hear the exciting followup story, and get to tell you all about it -- oh the tears of joy!

Ah, but no! Instead, it seems as though I may very well have been majorly set-up! That's right. And you along with me. Uh huh. I, being the naive, fairly new conference attendee from SoCal, may very well have fallen for a conference-ticket-beggar-SCAM-artist! And a very proud one, or two... at that!

Here's how the heist (alleged) went down...

Wednesday on my WBMW Facebook page I received an alert from a guy who left a comment on above picture, posted on my FB wall: claiming to be one of the cute Brazilian guys in photograph,  naming himself, the guy next to him; and a actually a third accomplice -- which if I'd used my iPhone in landscape mode I'd of captured. Rats!

I then responded to confirm that indeed it was 'he' and asked if 'they' got tickets?

He replied: that 'they' indeed did! And not only that, but that they got THREE tickets for ALL sessions!

Me: I thought WOW! There has got to be some AMAZING story that I must find out! And so I asked him if I could 'friend' him on Facebook to obtain the entire story? And he agreed. Whoopee!

Next: We took it to private FB inbox messaging and this is what I found out... (posted with permission)

  • Conversation started Wednesday
  • Douglas

    Hi Kathryn, thanks again for the posting.
    Are you related with elder Skaggs that served mission in Brazil?
  • Kathryn Skaggs

    Hey Douglas,
    I'm Kathryn, I'm the one who took the picture of you guys and the blogger on A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman Facebook Page who posted the picture!
    Where did you see the picture? I have lots of questions about how you got your ticket... who from? I'd love to know more about you guys?
    Were you excited to hear about the new temple in Brazil?
    Anyway, since I'm a blogger and all my followers were so interested in your story I'd love to tell them you got tickets and anything else you guys would like to share about yourselves. 
  • Kathryn Skaggs

    Ha ha! We must have been writing at the same time! lol
    I have bunch of nephews. Maybe? First name?
  • Douglas

  • Kathryn Skaggs

    Yup! That's my nephew! How do you know him?
  • Douglas

    We served Santa Maria mission together in 2005
  • Kathryn Skaggs

    Oh cool! I see that you are friends here on FB. 
    Small world!
    So how in the world did you score three ticket to all sessions of conference? Who found you and did that?
  • Douglas

    lets start like this...
  • Kathryn Skaggs

  • Douglas

    Since three of us Victor, Alessandro and I leave here in the US for a few years, we were not able to get ticket with our passaport. Then we decided to ask for tickets, but we didn't want to be like everyone else [with one simple piece of paper], so we exaggerated a little. Actually, we spent a few hours preparing the signs. After a huge brainstorm, we decided on those signs. Some of those included: "Mr Booggieman ate my ticket''. "Aliens seeking tickets" "3% OFF on your tithing for a tickets" and so on...
  • Douglas

  • Kathryn Skaggs

  • Douglas

    Probably 15 min after we were standing in the crowd next to the police and anti-Mormons, this beautiful blond woman came to me and gave us three tickets [of course I gave her a hug]. Since we had time, we stood there just for fun, when out of nowhere, another blond [Brazilian] gave us 2 tickets for the afternoon session. From there and on, we got one by one. Oh I can't forget to mention that I run into this elder from my previous ward back in Oregon [I was his scout leader], and he had an extra tickets as well. We had so much fun standing there asking for tickets. We felt the spirit and were very happy because we were in the same room as the prophet. When the Rio de Janeiro temple was announced, the started to high five each other - it was kind of fun. Best of all, with some of those tickets, we got plaza. And with a little bit of Brazilian way, we sit just a few rolls in front of the prophet - we didn't even had to watch the conference through the screen. As a result of our fun and 'accomplishment', we will repeat it next conference...with a little bit more salt and pepper.
  • Douglas

    Oh Alessandro had your picture in his timeline
  • Kathryn Skaggs

    What a wonderful story.
    Now tell me... what do you mean when you say, "a little bit of Brazilian way"? and "a little more salt and pepper"?
  • Douglas

    It's confidential.
    just kidding...
    Well, since we were in the plaza and there was some sits available in the front, we sit there. Alessandro and I were joking about going dressed as the pioneers or like captain Moroni... just a thought.
  • Kathryn Skaggs

    Ha ha! You guys sound like a fun bunch of characters! I knew it when I saw you and that's why I stopped to take your picture!

Well, I don't know if we were all scammed or not (Because Doug and his buddies are just way too fun, and cute, to be scam artists -- right? Who knows, really, perhaps I'm being scammed again, right NOW, and they just want their 10 minutes of fame on my blog and indeed they never even got tickets at all!), but I'll be more skeptical when I see cute young Brazilian young men, with clever signage hanging out on the corner; trying to get tickets for General Conference next time around. NOT going to fall for it!

But Douglas, if you see me up at General Conference in six months... let's just say... you don't want to see me on that corner in six months... 


Kathryn Skaggs

Why Prophets to Proclaim TRUTH? If NOT a People Willing to Obey?


  1. that seems like its breaking some commandment somehow...

  2. that just seems wrong on all levels...

  3. I kind of don't think you were scammed (or at least I don't think they were asking for tickets under false pretenses). I know folks who go up to conference with tickets to one of the sessions, but really want to go to more sessions -- they stand on corners and beg for tickets, just like these young men. They aren't asking for people planning to attend to give up their tickets; they are asking for donations of any unused tickets.

    1. So Gina, are you saying that 'most' people who have extra tickets realize that those begging for tickets, and the creative ways that they do it, is just part of the General Conference 'game' of how people get tickets who don't have tickets, get tickets?

      So the 'little' 'salt and pepper' is totally okay and part of the 'game' then, right? No scam if you realize it's all part of the game.

      What about sneaking down to seats that you don't really have tickets for? Is that part of the game, too?

  4. I don't see begging for tickets as a game. It's an unorganized and informal way to get unused tickets to people who want them. If I were attending conference, and had an unused ticket because a companion got sick or something, I would be happy to give that otherwise useless ticket to someone who could put it to its intended use. The practice of begging for tickets is common enough that it was recommended in this article about how to (possibly) get into conference when you couldn't get tickets: "Attending General Conference
    Without a Ticket"

    I don't have a clear idea of what "salt and pepper" is. If that is what they mean by their ideas to dress up as pioneers or Captain Moroni, it seems maybe undignified, but I don't see it as a scam. I see a scam as when someone, under false pretenses, persuades you to give them something that you would have kept or used for yourself if you knew the circumstances truthfully. Did you feel they misrepresented their situation? Coming from my experience of friends asking for unused tickets, I kind of equated these young men with what my friends have done: begging out of an earnest desire to be in the Conference Center. But I don't have the benefit of your experience; I defer to you, who were actually there.

    About sneaking down to seats. I would call foul if someone else was turned away because of what they did. They probably didn't have to sneak, though. They probably just walked down to the unoccupied seats in their area after noticing that no one else seemed to want them. I remember the one time I was in the Conference Center, our group was separated by some unoccupied seats. We waited to see if the rightful ticketholders were just running late or whatever, but when they were no-shows, we used the seats for our group.

    1. Thanks for the link, Gina.

      I agree, in that I would want to see an unused ticket that I might have in my possession, on my way into conference, be used by anyone wanting to attend -- and I would not feel that I had been scammed; regardless of how they went about getting my attention to acquire it.

      And personally, as easy it is to see the flaws in this type of ticket acquisition, it is very difficult to do so, toward anyone whose only desire is to sit at the feet of living prophets of God and listen to the words they speak on His behalf!

  5. I just want to clarify a few points:
    We are Brazilians who live in Salt Lake. We never claimed to be a tourists. We went to watch the conference and we got the tickets that people GAVE us. Even the Plaza area. Just like there are parade on Pioneers day, we thought that it would be fun to dress like the pioneers - never thought it would be 'undignified'. Correct me if I'm wrong, but asking for valid tickets is not breaking any commandments.

    1. I wasn't sure how you were planning to dress up, but I could picture some costumes that might not be dignified enough to be admitted into the Conference Center (I was thinking that a bare-chested Captain Moroni would be turned away.). I'm sure you could also dress up in a way that would still be Conference Center appropriate. Seeing someone in a tasteful costume begging for tickets would definitely get my attention, and I would be more than happy to give my unused tickets to someone who put a creative effort into securing a conference seat.

    2. Lol
      Gina, bare-chested? That would be funny. though I didnt think in that extreme. Im more a dressed up type of a guy. Sorry if I miss understood you before. Besides if "we were" to dress like that [probably I wouldnt], I wouldnt go in. Maybe I'd watch outside. Hope its all clear. We are faithful and good guys. Though the word Scam didnt sound well for those Brazilians. lol

    3. Hi Doug!

      Let me jump in here! From what I could tell when I saw you out on the street, you are very good guys. I could tell the minute I saw those beautiful smiles and felt your warm spirits. Heck, I couldn't resist taking your picture!

      And the use of the word 'scam' was just a fun way to get a ton of people to read this fun followup story; and it worked! Tons are reading it. Even LDS Living Magazine picked up the story:

      Everyone that asked about you guys was genuinely interested in wanting to make sure you got tickets! And I'm happy to hear that you all got in and that you had a great conference experience!

    4. Kathryn,
      Lovely. It was a great turn out. I'm very excited with all the comments and we (Alessandro, Victor and I) are glad you wrote about us. Thanks again.

    5. My pleasure, Doug! And thank you for allowing me to do so, and most of all, for being such great sports! : )


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