Now that the Giants and Patriots are preparing to face off again during Super Bowl XLVI next month, football fans everywhere are eager to get their hands on the hottest sports ticket of the year. Unfortunately, high public demand, fan fervor, and outrageous ticket prices make this annual event (and many popular events throughout the year) ripe for exploitation by criminals eager to make some quick cash by selling fraudulent tickets online. If you’re hoping to score a ticket to the Big Game or any other event this year, make sure you’re shopping smart and safely online by following our tips.
Do Buy from Legitimate and Licensed Resellers: If you’re considering buying from an online ticket broker, look for authorized and credible resellers. For Super Bowl fans, the NFL’s official ticket exchange is Ticketmaster. Alternatively, tickets sold on sites such as www.Stubhub.com are eligible for their FanProtect guarantee, which ensures you’re getting the real deal.
For other events, the Better Business Bureau maintains a searchable database of legitimate brokerage companies that provide premium tickets. The BBB also recommends looking for their logo on websites to ensure the vendor is reputable. However, it’s important to note that not all reputable businesses will be members of the BBB. Still, you can do some of your own research to verify your vendor, such as looking up user reviews.
Don’t Fall For Online Scams: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of ticket scams in the form of pop-up ads or email phishing scams that offer low-cost or last-minute sales of tickets to high-profile events that are sold out. These fraudulent ads may be tricks to get you to install malware (for example, a pop-up that offers discount tickets if you download an attached form) or give cybercriminals access to your information (by clicking a link and “registering” with personal information).
Do Scrutinize Your Ticket: If you are purchasing your tickets from a season ticket holder, you can call the team’s ticket office to verify the account and validity of the ticket. If buying from an independent seller, ask for the ticket information and scrutinize every aspect of the ticket, including date, venue name, and seating section (if the tickets show that you will be sitting in seat 5, section ZZ, make sure the stadium’s seating chart actually reflects a section ZZ).
Don’t Share Personal Information: Websites like Craigslist or eBay are full of last-minute ticket offers from some legitimate — and not-so-legitimate — sellers. When communicating with a seller on one of these sites, be alert if someone seems overly aggressive about getting money or personal information from you, suggests a suspicious meeting place, or other red flags.
Don’t Leave the Site: Throughout your search and purchase process, keep an eye on the web address to verify you’re not being redirected to a phony site that may infect your computer with malware or steal your personal information.
Do Pay Using Encryption: Purchasing tickets in a secured, encrypted transaction is vital to protect your financial information. Reputable vendors will take steps to insure this (your pay window URL should start with https://). Pay with a credit card or consider using a verified payer system like PayPal, which provides some additional protection and potential reimbursement if the tickets prove to be fakes.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’re sure to end up on the winning side of the ticket-buying game.