A loving mother allegedly scammed out of Pink tickets she purchased for her daughter's 10th birthday has called the ordeal "sickening" after driving hours before realising she had been ripped off.
Donna Knight posted on the "PINK in Dunedin" Facebook page on Thursday looking for three tickets for herself and her daughters to the performance at Forsyth Bar Stadium on Saturday night.
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After initially missing out on tickets, Ms Knight said she decided to make the post "as a spur-of-the-moment decision to shout my daughter for her birthday".
A woman, claiming to be from Auckland, offered the tickets for $350, and while Ms Knight was initially hesitant and nervous about the exchange, the woman reassured her she could be trusted.
"She reassured me like you wouldn't believe that she was legit and wouldn't do that," she told Newshub.
After agreeing to pay $270 into an account and to pay the rest after getting the tickets, Ms Knight said she received what she now believes were false details, including a postal address for Havelock North.
But that wasn't where the woman left it.
Ms Knight said she was actively encouraged by the woman to pick her girls up from school and get on the road, even after the money had been paid.
"She was like, 'Get on the road... Get your kids... You have got a long journey ahead of you. I will get it through to you I promise...' She carried it on for a good five hours."
Ms Knight left her home of Hanmer Springs on Friday afternoon, driving for hours while frequently checking to see if the tickets had come through. After arriving in Ashburton she said she felt "sick in the stomach" as it dawned on her she had been ripped off.
She tried to explain the situation to her children who were determined she wasn't correct and that no one would rip them off, before continuing on to Oamaru to stay with family.
Eventually, Ms Knight found the mysterious woman had blocked her on Facebook, which she said was "upsetting [and] heartbreaking for my children and myself".
Looking back on it, Ms Knight said it sickened her that this woman was potentially "enjoying the thought of us travelling all that way, knowing we were going to turn up to nothing".
Ms Knight said she wanted others to know not to always trust people online and not to risk your money just trying to surprise someone.
"You get people like this that just ruin it. You genuinely can't trust anyone nowadays... I was genuinely just trying to do the right thing for my kids and provide an amazing birthday present."
On Saturday, she and her children made the difficult return trip to Hanmer Springs.
"We are not rich; it's not that easy. We are on our last few dollars to get home."
She has since filed a report with police.