by Sheryl Reichert

Sheryl Reichert, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Sheryl Reichert, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Summer’s warmer weather means fun times, such as sold-out outdoor concerts and sporting events. Unfortunately, buying counterfeit tickets from a stranger could ruin your plans for a full-filled evening. If you’re the victim of a scam, the tickets you purchased may never arrive or they may turn out to be fakes.

Ticket scams can happen either from purchases made online or from a third-party seller, such as a ticket broker, or from an individual, such as a ticket scalper. Realize a ticket scalper is an unregulated, unlicensed seller. Be skeptical if the tickets to a sold-out event are being offered at a low cost; typically, the lower the cost, the higher the risk of being scammed.

How can you spot a fake ticket? Check the date on the ticket and make sure it matches the actual date of the event. Be wary of spelling and grammatical errors, which are red-flag signs a ticket might not be legit. Look for authentication of pictures and logos printed on the ticket by checking the alignment and even the color. Search for the barcode on the ticket. Most sporting events and music festivals today use barcodes on tickets and wristbands. If possible, compare your ticket with someone who bought theirs from the official site. This allows you to spot anything that seems to be wrong with your ticket.

When buying tickets online, make sure you research the retailer you’re buying from. Generally speaking, the safest way to pay for online purchases is a credit card. Online credit card purchases are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, which provides protections until any issues get resolved. The safest option is to purchase tickets online from official and well-known websites, such as Ticketmaster, StubHub and MLB.com.

When buying tickets from a ticket broker, make sure the company has a physical address and phone number. Read ratings and customer reviews to help you make the best selection before buying. Check out the terms of the transaction, including the refund policy. Be aware that scammers will provide false identity so make sure the information is real.

Before purchasing tickets from a third-party ticket seller, ask yourself if they seem trustworthy. You have every reason to be cautious, so don’t be afraid to be skeptical and ask for additional information.

If you choose to buy from an individual seller, meet at a public location such as a coffee shop. Before handing over any cash, ask to see the seller’s driver’s license or photo ID to make sure the name they told you matches. Have the seller provide you with legitimate information so that you’re able to reach them in case of any possible ticket complications.

Watch out for strangers offering counterfeit tickets to private parties associated with the special event. Con men are very good at their craft. Use discernment, common sense and avoid high-pressure sales tactics.

The BBB offers free educational information on how to be aware, informed and proactive so people can protect themselves against frauds and scams. For additional consumer protection information, visit www.bbb.org or contact the BBB by phoning (858) 637-6199.

Sheryl Reichert
Sheryl Reichert