BBB warns fans about fake ticket scams ahead of March Madness

Posted at 7:18 AM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 09:34:35-04

BOISE, Idaho — March Madness is around the corner, and the Better Business Bureau is warning basketball fans to be careful when trying to score tickets.

Thanks to the internet, there are countless ways for consumers to find tickets and connect with online marketplaces, ticket sellers, and resellers. Unfortunately, some of them are ripoffs, and it's not always clear how to tell if a ticket is fake. Last year, the BBB received nearly 400 reports to its Scam Tracker about ticket scams related to sporting events, concerts, theatre, and more.

The BBB reports ticket scams can happen year-round, and with more artists making tour stops in the Treasure Valley, con artists may use big names to try and get your money in their hands. A BBB Scam Tracker report shows a victim losing $600 when she thought she was buying concert tickets online. The seller instructed the victim to pay via Apple Pay or Venmo, but once the funds were sent--not only did she not receive the tickets, but her phone number was blocked from the seller and she was left high and dry.

So how can you protect yourself? Do your research. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust, and purchase from the venue whenever possible. Check out reviews for the online ticket retailer and know their reputation before buying.

Know the refund policy. Sellers should disclose to the purchaser, prior to purchase, the location of the seats represented by the tickets. Use a credit card so you have extra protections if the tickets are not as promised.

Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment as some ads will actually be a scam, especially if the prices are low. Don't click through from emails or online ads--a common ticket scam trick is to create a web address similar to a well-known company.

If you're unsure about your purchase, verify your tickets before paying a visit to the venue where the event will be held. Present your tickets to the box office or Will Call area, and customer service will usually be able to verify if your ticket is legitimate and show you how to tell if a ticket is fake.

For more resources to help protect your identity and money, head to the BBB website or check out the Scam Tracker.