FOXBOROUGH -- Concerned about an ongoing issue with counterfeit ticket sales, especially with a huge AFC East showdown against the New York Jets looming Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots issued a warning Thursday to their fans to be extra vigilant when buying game tickets online.
Team spokesman Stacey James said the team had seen a proliferation of counterfeit ticket sales this season , including home games against Arizona and Denver.
"People have purchased them on Craigslist and they all have Ticketmaster logos on them,'' said James, pointing out one of the telltale signs of a counterfeit Patriots' game ticket.
James produced a seized counterfeit ticket to a 2012 home game against the Cardinals with a Ticketmaster logo on the front.
"That's a fake,'' he said. "It feels like a real ticket, but we don't print any of our tickets on Ticketmaster stock. Ticketmaster prints them, but they don't print them with their logo on them.
James said counterfeiters "somehow got a hold of Ticketmaster stock and they print out our information on them.''
James indicated if fans were suspicious about their online ticket purchases, they were encouraged to contact the Patriots' box office at 1-800-543-1776 to verify the validity of their game tickets.
"We invite them to come down and show it to us and we can identify if it's a real ticket or not,'' James said. "The two places we can verify it's a legitimate ticket is if you buy it from the Patriots' box office or through Ticketmaster, but Ticketmaster does not print with the Ticketmaster logo on our tickets.''
James said the first time the team dealt with counterfeit ticket sales was about 4-5 years ago for a game against the Indianapolis Colts. There was one glaring piece of evidence that pointed to those Patriots-Colts tickets as being fake: "They spelled 'Indianapolis' wrong,'' he said.
In another instance, James said, fraudulent tickets were sold "using our game info, but Red Sox gate info and seating sections.''
"We want to get the message out that since we've been in his building, we've always said, 'Buyer beware,' '' James said. "You have to make sure you buy them from someone you know and trust and if you're selling them, we always remind people 'Seller beware,' because if a person who is using your ticket and becomes drunk or disorderly, you can lose your season ticket account.''