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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: Protect yourself during live sports season

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

The live sports season is upon us with our favorite college, NFL and local teams beginning seasons. Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific is offering some tips to make sure you use the safest practices when buying tickets.

This isn’t just for tickets. Scammers can also trick consumers into purchasing seemingly legitimate merchandise from less-than-secure sites. Also, a wide variety of sites has popped up for purchasing tickets and BBB Northwest and Pacific wants you to avoid phony ticket scams.

According to the BBB Scam Tracker, football fans reported losing nearly $4,000 to football-related scams last year. Common scams include reselling fake or nonexistent tickets on online classifieds, counterfeit merchandise, price gouging, ticket scalping and scammers who use bots to buy thousands of tickets and resell them at inflated prices.

BBB advises fans to follow this advice when purchasing tickets and merchandise:

    Pay with protection. Paying with a credit card offers consumers protection if scammed. The credit card company may be able to help obtain a refund if the tickets are fake. Be wary of online sellers that ask you to wire money and don’t accept credit cards.

    Verify the tickets. To check the authenticity of tickets, 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.

    Check out the seller/broker. Before you decide to purchase tickets on other sites, be sure to look up the seller on Secure, legal sites for secondhand purchases include BBB-accredited businesses SeatGeek and Vivid Seats. These sites guarantee consumers and sellers a secure transaction. It’s also wise to check whether the seller is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

    Look for secure sites. The website should begin with https 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.

    Shop local. If you’re searching for ticket bargains on classified sites and apps such as Craigslist, eBay, Offer Up and Letgo, it’s wise to meet sellers in person in a safe, public place.

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