With the Super Bowl just around the corner, many diehard fans may be scrambling to find last minute tickets. As with any high-profile event, scammers are taking advantage of the football fever to dupe consumers out of their hard-earned money.
Scambook.com advises ticket hunters to stick to authorized resellers like StubHub.com and eBay.com, which have safeguards to protect consumers against fraud. StubHub guarantees orders by replacing any tickets that turn out to be counterfeit or refunding the buyer’s money.
However, if consumers do choose to look for tickets on open marketplace websites such as Craigslist, Scambook urges them to take the following precautions:
1. Ask yourself if it’s too good to be true.
Look out for red flags such as the ticket price being extremely low compared to the average price on other listings. Any elaborate, emotional story explaining why the seller cannot attend the game is another common sign.
2. Don’t pay via Western Union or money order.
There are no buyer protections using wire transfers or payment methods like money orders and cashier’s checks. If you send your money via Western Union, you won’t be able to get it back if the seller turns out to be a scammer.
3. Think twice before using PayPal.
Be very cautious and don’t open any PayPal links that the seller emails you. Scammers create convincing PayPal spoof-sites that can install viruses or steal your private information. Also, keep in mind that if the seller doesn’t deliver the tickets or you receive counterfeits, you won’t be able to get your money back in time to buy legitimate replacements.
4. Hold the transaction in person at a public place.
Meet them in a neutral public place to buy the tickets. For extra safety, bring a friend or tell someone where you’re going, who you’re meeting and when you expect to be back.
5. Examine the tickets carefully before money changes hands.
Legitimate event tickets are printed on stiff, glossy paper. Examine the barcode to see if it’s been tampered with and look for other suspicious signs like ragged edges, smudged printing, official logos that don’t look right, misspelled words or wrong event details.
6. Never buy e-Tickets.
Similarly, never buy electronic tickets that are emailed to you or printed out. e-Tickets are very easy to counterfeit, or scammers can print and sell multiple copies.
7. Don’t give the seller more personal information than absolutely necessary.
This is an important general rule for all online transactions. Someone selling tickets on Craigslist has no need to know any of your sensitive personal information. Consumers can protect their private phone numbers by signing up for a free Google Voice account. Scambook also advises buyers to use P.O boxes or separate mailing addresses whenever they need to receive parcels.