Avoid ticket scams for popular events
June 5, 2018
If you’re planning to attend a concert or a popular sports event, watch out for ticket scams.
In a typical ticket scam, a con artist pretends to have tickets, advertises the tickets on Craigslist, and collects payment from the buyer, but then fails to provide any tickets or refunds.
Consumers have reported suspected ticket scams involving a variety of events, including Cavs games and concerts, in complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The average reported loss is over $200.
Tips to avoid ticket scams include:
- Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other online marketplaces may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but these offers may be scams. Some may offer phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly, falsely saying they have a medical emergency or an overseas military assignment, for example.
- Be careful dealing with individual third-party sellers. To protect yourself, deal with reputable businesses instead of third-party individuals who are not associated with an event. Before providing any payment or personal information, research a seller’s reputation, especially that of an individual seller. Search the seller’s name, username, email address, phone number, and other details for information. Even if you find no negative information, don’t assume the seller is trustworthy. Some con artists change names regularly.
- Check the venue’s ticket policies. Increasingly, a number of venues and events predominantly use electronic tickets. If you’re trying to buy a paper ticket, make sure it’s real. Check both sides of the ticket, and be aware that some ticket scammers use falsified photos, logos, or trademarks to create counterfeit tickets that look legitimate even though they are not.
- Be wary of sellers who request specific forms of payment. Con artists often request payment methods that are difficult to trace or recover, such as wire transfers, cash, or gift cards. They also may ask buyers to use money-transfer apps or other payment options that may not carry specific fraud protections.
- Consider paying with a credit card. If a problem arises, you generally have greater ability to dispute charges on a credit card compared to other payment methods. If you’re using a mobile wallet or peer-to-peer payment service, be sure to understand the protections that the service does (or does not) provide before you make a transaction.
If you think you’ve lost money in a ticket scam, immediately report the scam and contact the company you used to make the payment. You also can report suspicious Craigslist ads to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office directly from Craigslist.