There’s nothing quite like watching sports live. The energy, the cheers, the game! But tickets to live sporting events can be pricey, and scammers know this well. They’ve come up with all sorts of scams involving the sale of sport tickets, and often, they succeed at conning innocent victims out of their money. Here’s what you need to know about sport ticket scams and how to avoid them.
How the scams play out
In a sport ticket scam, a target searches online for tickets to a live sporting event. An ad appears on screen, offering tickets to this event. When the target clicks on it, they find their way onto the alleged seller’s webpage. They enter their information, choose seats, and then notice that the tickets are ridiculously overpriced. At this point, they’ll either opt-out or decide they really want to go to this event, so a ticket is worth any price to them. They’ll input their credit card info, complete the payment and expect to receive confirmation of the sale. They’ll wait for it to come… and wait… and wait. Unfortunately, the virtual tickets aren’t coming and the victim will never hear from the seller again. To make matters worse, the scammer now has their personal information and credit card details so they can scam them even more.
In another version of the sport ticket scam, the victim receives an e-ticket after completing the transaction. However, this ticket is useless because it is either counterfeit with forged barcodes and logos or a duplicate of an actual ticket that has already been sold to other buyers.
The do’s and don’ts of purchasing sport tickets:
Ticket scams can be challenging to spot because scammers use sophisticated methods to create look-alike sites, bogus tickets and more. Don’t get scammed! Follow these tips to avoid getting caught in a sport ticket scam:
- Use payment methods that come with a level of protection, such as credit cards.
- Shop local. If you’re trying to purchase a ticket at a bargain price from sites like Craigslist, eBay Classifieds or OfferUp, ask to meet the seller in person at a well-populated area or near a local police station.
- Buy tickets at the venue box office.
- Buy tickets from authorized brokers and third-party sellers once you have verified contact information. For optimal security, contact the original promoter of the ticket directly to verify the ticket’s authenticity.
- Research the seller carefully by looking for a safe website and a legitimate physical address and phone number.
- Complete a quick online search for negative reviews about the seller. Just input the seller’s name, email address and phone number, along with the words “fraud,” “scams” and/or “fake tickets” to see what the internet has to say.
- Check to verify that the tickets have the correct date and time printed on them before confirming your purchase. It’s also a good idea to check that the section and seat number actually exist at the venue.
- Don’t wire money or use uncommon payment methods (such as gift cards) to pay for tickets.
- Don’t pay for a ticket before seeing it.
- Don’t meet a private ticket seller alone or in a low-traffic area.
- Don’t trust online search results for ticket sellers without researching each one carefully.
If you’ve been scammed
If you believe you’ve been targeted for or become a victim of a sport ticket scam, there are several steps to take to mitigate the damage and help stop the scammers. First, if you’ve paid with a credit card, be sure to dispute the charge, cancel the card and ask for a new one. Next, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can also file a complaint against the bogus ticket company through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker. Finally, let your family and friends know about the circulating scam.
Don’t let a live sporting event go foul! Stay alert and stay safe.
Your Turn: Have you been targeted by a sports ticket scam? Tell us about it in the comments.