VICTORIA, Texas – Summertime is full of many exciting events: music and food festivals, baseball games and concerts with big-name headliners. Now is the time many people will be looking to buy tickets for local events or upcoming tours that sell out quickly. Whether you’re heading to a concert venue or festival this summer, Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises consumers to be on alert for fake event tickets.
Many consumers go online to purchase tickets-it’s convenient, and some websites may offer opportunities to purchase tickets before box office sales start. Many sites also offer buyer protections and money-back guarantees. Remember, when purchasing tickets online it is important to know you are working with a trustworthy seller.
There are currently thousands of tickets listed on classifieds sites-however, they 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.
In another twist on scamming ticket buyers out of money, scam artists have reportedly promoted food festivals, concerts and similar events on social media sites, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). People buy the tickets, but when they show up to the “event” or venue, they unfortunately discover there is no event and they’ve just been scammed.
BBB offers the following tips for safe ticket purchases:
- Do your research. Do an online search using the name of the festival, event and its promoters, along with key words such as “scam,” “fake” or “fraud” to see if others have been scammed. Check to see if the event has taken place in other towns, too. If you’re looking to purchase 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.
- Check policies. Research the ticket broker’s refund policy before purchasing. Assess the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and details on reimbursement for cancelled events.
- 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. Scam artists will often list tickets at a very low price to lure victims. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Look for contact information. If purchasing tickets on a ticket website or online classified, make sure the contact information is listed and is correct. Try out the email or phone number, and if those methods don’t work or you don’t get a response within a reasonable time, it may not be a reliable option.
- 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, and don’t share your credit card number or any other personal information with someone you don’t know.
- Never wire money. Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve. Once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse, if any, for getting your money back.
- Never communicate only 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!