This is the heart of the summer festival/concert season. Ticket prices are soaring these days, and anything that commands a high price is going to draw scammers like a magnet. Since most people now buy their tickets online, your Better Business Bureau cautions consumers: beware of fake tickets. Counterfeit tickets, tickets that are not in the advertised seats and even fake festivals are being reported. Craigslist, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as sham websites are all used by crooks to pedal their fake tickets to the unsuspecting. Color runs as well as festivals and concerts have all been used by crooks to rope in their scam victims. However, there are some ways to safeguard yourself from ticket rip-offs.
Before you buy those tickets
Be sure you do the following before clicking on the “purchase tickets” link, or before you send money in response to an ad:
• Research the event. Look online for the festival by name and be sure the name precisely matches with the advertised ticket. It’s common for scammers to use an event name that sounds very similar to the real one.
• Look for contact information that is legitimate. Check out the phone number and the email address posted to be sure they connect you with the genuine event.
• Remember that extremely inexpensive tickets are a giveaway to fakery. Prices that are much lower than those listed elsewhere are a red flag that a scam is in the works.
• Consider contacting the venue to be sure the advertised event is really going to take place there.
• Read the fine print, especially regarding refunds. Even legitimate events may have refund policies that you find are too restrictive.
• When an advertised event claims to be connected with a charity, take the time to check with that charitable organization to be sure they really have sanctioned it.
• Always pay with a credit card so that you are protected in case there is a future dispute.
• Make sure the site on which you’re purchasing tickets is a secure one. The website should begin with “https.” The extra “s” is for secure. There should also be a little lock symbol in the address bar.
• It’s probably best to avoid tickets sold on Craigslist altogether. Scammers know how to make tickets look realistic and how to fake receipts. There is also no guarantee that tickets pictured with the listing are actually the tickets you will receive.
• Check out all third party ticket sites at bbb.org before making a purchase from them.
All of the above applies to other types of tickets as well. It’s worth remembering that sporting events are also subject to ticket rip-offs. So whether you’re looking to attend a concert, a festival, a color run or a big game, take a little extra time to be sure you are not going to be seated in the ticket rip-off section.
If you have questions or concerns about purchasing tickets, contact the BBB by calling (800) 856-2417, or visit our website at bbbinc.org.