Officials warn of fake ticket scams as seasons begin

A Seahawks fan lost more than a thousand dollars after paying someone online for season tickets he never received, and the Better Business Bureau wants to alert other football fans to watch out for phony tickets sold online.

The victim reported to the BBB Scam Tracker that she came across a Craigslist ad that claimed to be selling two season tickets. She sent a cashier’s check for $1,300 and received an email with a contract that was signed by the original ticket owner. After the seller received the money they cut off all communication with the victim, leaving her ticketless and taking her money.

According to BBB, other common ticket scams include price gouging, ticket scalping and scammers who use bots to buy thousands of tickets and resell them at inflated prices.

Fans are advised to follow certain steps when searching for football tickets online:

  • Pay with protection. Paying with a credit card offers consumers protection if scammed. The credit card company can help obtain a refund if the tickets are fake. Be wary of online sellers that ask to wire money and don’t accept credit cards.
  • Verify the tickets. To check the authenticity of tickets, consumers should ask for a copy of the seller’s invoice or purchasing receipt to check where the seller bought the tickets. It’s also recommended to contact the original promoter directly.
  • Research the seller. Before deciding to purchase tickets on other sites be sure to look the seller up on bbb.org. Secure, legal sites for second-hand purchases include BBB Accredited businesses  SeatGeek and Vivid Seats. These sites guarantee their consumers and sellers a secure transaction. It’s also wise to check if the seller is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200 percent purchase guarantee on tickets. Look up the seller on VerifiedTicketSource.com to confirm you are buying from an NATB-member resale company.
  • Look for secure sites. The website should begin with https (the “s” is for secure) and include a lock symbol on the address bar. Also check the official website for a phone number, physical address and email address. Be wary of sites that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number. Contact forms make it hard to reach someone from the company.
  • Shop local. If consumers search for ticket bargains on classified sites and apps such as Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, OfferUp and Letgo, they should meet sellers in person in a safe, public place.

Any fans who believe they are the victim of a scam can report it to BBB Scam Tracker. For more information, consumers can visit www.bbb.org/tickets.

 

 

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