Major sporting events like the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, NASCAR and the Super Bowl bring out the scammers who capitalize on the scarcity of tickets and fans’ desire to be part of the action. If you’re planning a last-minute trip to Atlanta for the Final Four, don’t get duped by counterfeit tickets or fake hotel deals.
The Better Business Bureau cautions event-goers from purchasing tickets on Craiglist, where thousands of tickets are listed everyday for many events. Craigslist doesn’t offer guarantees for buyers, and sellers don’t have to prove that the tickets are authentic. Fake ticket sellers can be found on online auctions, classifieds and bulletin boards. If you buy tickets from these sites, then take to heart the saying, “Buyer beware.”
For the NCAA tournament, official ticket information is available at www.ncaa.com/tickets. In addition, reputable, secondary-market ticket firms provide buyer protections including money back guarantees on tickets. Several have a BBB grade of A+ and include TicketsNow.com, StubHub.com and RazorGator.com.
For out-of-town travel to events, inclusive package deals with hotel, tickets, and event merchandise can be tempting. Before you buy, ask for the name, address and phone number of the hotel. Call the hotel to verify that the booking package is legitimate. Check the hotel’s website or a reputable travel site to check that hotel is conveniently located near the event.
Be wary of any offer that requires wiring money or using Green Dot cards. When you send money by wire, it is almost impossible to get it back or to trace the recipient.
Some additional tips for avoiding scams connected to special events:
Use a credit card. Your credit card company can assist you with obtaining a refund if the offer turns out to be fraudulent.
When buying from an online ticket broker, check the broker’s reputation at www.bbb.org.
If you buy tickets through eBay, choose a seller with a long history of satisfied customers.
Don’t be lured by an online seller to conduct the transaction privately. Again, you can’t get your money back if you pay by cash or wire transfer and the tickets turn out to be fraudulent.
To get more information before you do business with a company, visit the BBB at www.bbb.org or call 509-455-4200.
Erin T. Dodge, BBB Editor