Don’t let scammers tackle you out of a Super Bowl ticket

VICTORIA, Texas–Super Bowl LI is a few weeks away, and football fans everywhere are starting to make their predictions. On Sunday, Feb. 5, two teams will compete for the NFL championship title in Houston. If you’re heading to the Super Bowl this year, Better Business Bureau advises you to be on alert for ticket scams.

There are currently thousands of game day tickets listed on classifieds websites, which seems great to those making a last-minute decision to see the big game. However, these sites offer no guarantees and do not require identification from sellers. Buying tickets in person is not always a sure thing either, as it has become easier for scammers to make fake tickets look real. This may become a more likely scam because the game is in Texas this year.

If you do go online to purchase a Super Bowl ticket, BBB recommends purchasing from a trustworthy seller or website. Some websites offer opportunities to purchase tickets before box office sales start, buyer protections and money-back guarantees.

In 2016, BBB received nearly 3,000 complaints against event ticket sales and ticket brokers nationwide, almost 1,000 more complaints than the previous year. Complainants allege they paid for invalid tickets or paid in advance for tickets that never arrived. Legitimate ticket brokers should be happy to answer questions, send a receipt and verify business information.

BBB offers the following tips for safely purchasing Super Bowl tickets:

Do your research. When purchasing tickets through an online broker, check out their BBB Business Review at bbb.org for details about the company, history of complaints and customer reviews. You can also check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, an organization that works with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams and other organizations to fight against counterfeit tickets. Verify the tickets are real. Search for guidance online about how the tickets should look and compare them to the ones you want to buy. Also, compare the price of the tickets to the price of others being sold. Scammers will often list tickets at a very low price to lure victims. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Check the ticket broker’s refund policy. Research the ticket broker’s refund policy before purchasing, and make sure it provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Assess the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and details on reimbursement for canceled events. Watch for hidden fees. Some websites include service charges and additional shipping fees. While these charges should be identified on the website and disclosed to you before the transaction is finalized, read the fine print to make sure you know the total cost that will be billed to your account. Pay with a credit card. Always use a credit card as additional protection. Also, never wire money to someone you don’t know. Money sent via wire transfer is extremely difficult to retrieve. Once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse, if any, for getting your money back.

Additionally, BBB advises you to watch out for these red flags:

The ticket seller prefers to communicate via email. If the seller doesn’t provide a physical address or phone number as another option to communicate, that’s a red flag. With email, there’s no way to tell where the person is emailing from, or who the person is. Ask questions! The ticket seller can’t provide additional photos or information. Request more photos of the property, or ask to be given a virtual tour via web cam. Ask for specific details about the package or tickets you are purchasing. Legitimate owners and/or sellers will be happy to oblige.

If you believe you have purchased a counterfeit ticket, immediately report it to the NATB’s hotline at 630-510-4594 and file a complaint with your BBB at bbb.org.

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