Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Margaret McCoey


One of the most significant, if not the most important financial difficulty facing theme parks today is credit card fraud and the use of counterfeit money by individuals to improperly obtain theme park tickets. The tickets are then used by the fraudsters themselves, or sold or otherwise distributed to guests of the parks. The improper use of the tickets significantly impacts the income of the parks. In order to continue to appropriately manage the parks after the losses, ticket prices need to be raised, which generally leads to a reduction in the valid revenue of the parks as they become costlier. The goal of this paper is to discuss how cyber-fraud, the use of counterfeit money, credit card fraud, and employee theft occurs, along with what can be done to limit the extent of the fraud losses, and how this will benefit both the owners of the parks and the public at large. While the theme park entertainment industry constantly seeks more effective internal and external controls and additional fraud prevention tools, this is balanced by the necessity to not anger potential customers through the fraud prevention efforts. At the same time, the parks must provide the necessary cyber-security to both protect themselves, and insure that customers’ data is protected.

The proposals and area of concentration of the paper will focus on theme park fraud prevention, credit card fraud, and counterfeit money, as well as the causes of these acts, such as false identity, ticket scams, and employee theft in the entertainment industry. Theme park owners explore the rising issues of fraud threats within their business structure, and the number of issues of fraudsters in theme parks. Most theme parks are vulnerable to fraud because of the business processes of the industry, as well as the fact that they do not provide the level of tools that are needed. The problem with criminals committing fraud in theme parks is very extensive because theme parks do not generally provide an appropriate control framework to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, which bring fraudsters in contact with park locations. Theme parks are losing money from experiencing counterfeit transactions, such as fake currency, phony credit cards and counterfeit checks (personal, cashier’s, gift or travelers) and false identity. These fraudulent events can add up to dangerous levels of financial loss each year. Weak internal and external controls result in fraudsters committing more crimes in theme park business structures and creating an unending cycle of regularly losing a portion of profits to fraud with higher economic and social costs. Instead of not spending money on prevention tools, theme parks should provide low cost, easy to use solutions without impacting the customer experience. In the long run, prevention tools will decrease the economic costs of responding to the problem of theme park fraud.