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Governor warns of ticket scams to Pope Francis events in NYC

Pope Francis waves to the Boy Scouts gathered

Pope Francis waves to the Boy Scouts gathered in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on June 13, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Franco Origlia

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned people Monday to beware of scams involving tickets to events with Pope Francis when he visits New York City in September.

All tickets will be distributed through Catholic dioceses and parishes in New York State, and none will be sold, Cuomo said.

"We are proud to welcome Pope Francis to New York, and I urge those interested in attending his events to obtain tickets only through the verified Catholic parishes," Cuomo said in a statement. "Anyone attempting to sell tickets is a scam artist and should be avoided at all costs. Making certain that you receive valid tickets will ensure that this event remains joyous and festive for all."

Selling fake tickets has not been a problem during previous visits to New York by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

Still, the archdiocese is "grateful for the state informing people that the only place they'll be able to get tickets is through their parishes, and that tickets for any event with Pope Francis are not for sale."

Francis is scheduled to visit New York Sept. 24 and 25 with events at the United Nations, Ground Zero, St. Patrick's Cathedral and a Catholic grammar school in Harlem. It is part of a five-day trip that will also include visits to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Parishioners in the Archdiocese of New York will receive the bulk of tickets for the New York segment of the trip, but other dioceses in the state, including Rockville Centre, Brooklyn, Albany, Syracuse, Ogdensburg, Rochester and Buffalo will also receive some, Zwilling said.

Some dioceses in New Jersey and Connecticut may also receive tickets, but that has not been finalized, he said.

Cuomo's office said in a statement that "New Yorkers should be aware that ticketing scams are not rare, and include previously used tickets, resale of lost or stolen tickets, online auction fraud, counterfeiting, tickets for nonexistent events, fictitious tickets, and fake websites."

"Scammers tend to victimize those dedicated New Yorkers who will spend generously to attend certain events," the statement said. "With their enthusiasm to obtain admittance to the event of choice, consumers fail to take safety precautions, and fall victim to scams."

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