The Internet has made the box office nearly obsolete. Though the convenience of purchasing event tickets digitally eliminates the need to stand in line, arrive early and worry about seating, online ticket sales have resulted in ever-present ticket scams. According to AARP, nearly 5 million people a year receive fake tickets to concerts, sporting events and theme parks. The following tips can help consumers protect themselves from ticket scams, which can result in identity theft and financial fraud.
Stick with well-known ticket sellers
Though great deals often appear on classified advertisement websites, purchasing tickets directly from other consumers is risky as it may result in ticket scams and the misuse of personally identifiable information. When buying event tickets, consumers should always purchase from reputable online ticket sellers. Credible event ticket companies guarantee that tickets sold by their resellers are authentic.
Take a minute to research
Consumers tend to look out for one another. One simple way to determine the legitimacy of a ticket sales company is to run the vendor’s name into a search engine. Chances are high that if the company is in the business of scamming people out of tickets, there are others who have been affected—and have posted about it. Several non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing consumer trust also make it easy for consumers to search for business ratings and reviews.
Pay with a credit card
Many credit cards and digital payment options offer ways of challenging payments if the product was not received as described. Fraudulent tickets often fall under this category, and payments for such tickets can likely be disputed. Although the costs associated with purchasing tickets from a scam may be refunded, consumers still lose out on attending the actual event. Thus, purchasing tickets from credible ticket sales websites and thoroughly researching ticket vendors are the two best options for avoiding ticket scams and the possibility of financial fraud.
Study the ticket
Spontaneous ticket buyers may opt to take the risk of purchasing event tickets from classified ad websites. Though this route is substantially more risky than purchasing tickets from a reputable website, consumers can still protect themselves from scams by carefully examining the physical ticket. Easy-to-spot signs of a fake ticket include: incorrect event information, low quality paper, blurry text, uneven margins and jagged paper edges.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Often times, consumers forego tickets from reputable — but pricier — websites in lieu of affordable tickets. Ultimately, a ticket scam can cost more than just a missed event. It can be the root for future instances of identity theft and financial fraud.
Financial Fraud statistics were compiled with information from AARP.