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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

BBB Tip of the Week: Don’t get scammed during March Madness

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

Watching Gonzaga’s Bulldogs during March Madness this year would be great on television, but wouldn’t it be better watching them in person?

The NCAA Tournament kicks off March 17 with Selection Sunday and continues with almost three weeks of games. The excitement of March Madness provides an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of fans eager to see their favorite teams. These scams are not limited to tickets and often include accommodations, merchandise and online brackets.

Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific offers tips, as scammers will be on the prowl making a full-court press to steal your money and possibly your identity.

Eliminate competition. Use the official NCAA website to securely purchase tickets. Fans can also securely buy tickets directly from other fans who can’t make the game with the NCAA Ticket Exchange.

Play smart. Before purchasing tickets on other sites, research the seller at bbb.org to ensure finding secure, legal sites for secondhand ticket purchases. Look for security on web addresses, as the “lock” and the “https” should appear in the address bar prior to making any transaction.

Read your travel package. Just because a travel package has “NCAA Tournament” or “March Madness” in the name doesn’t mean it includes tickets. If game tickets are not explicitly mentioned in ads, do not assume they are included.

Research game hotels and locations. Dishonest businesses may advertise they are close to the stadium or within “walking distance” when in fact they are not, which will cost you extra for transportation.

Support the team store. Buy team merchandise directly from the team website or official vendors at the stadium, which can protect you from getting taken by online-purchase scammers.

Avoid pop-ups while making brackets. Typing in teams on bracket websites often trigger pop-up ads. Don’t fall for them, because they may attempt to steal your credit card or personal information.

Defense wins championships. Pay with a credit card to get protection if scammed. The credit card company can help obtain a refund if the tickets are fake. There is no option of getting money back by paying with cash, wiring money or with a cashier’s check.

Put a method to the madness. Be cautious of extremely discounted ticket prices. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The road to the Final Four doesn’t have to end here. If scammed, share the experience with BBB Scam Tracker so other fans can avoid the scheme. Check out more information on fraudulent ticket purchasing at bbb.org/tickets.

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