MILWAUKEE — It’s proving to be a very exciting sports season for Wisconsin teams. And, now the Green Bay Packers have made the Playoffs, and the excitement continues. However, the Better Business Bureau is warning unsuspecting fans that will be flocking to websites to make ticket and NFL gear purchases.
The high cost of attending an event like a playoff game leads fans to search the internet, looking for good deals on tickets. However, scammers take advantage of this opportunity — by selling counterfeit tickets or tickets that may not even exist.
“Use extreme caution when it comes to buying tickets,” says Jim Temmer, CEO and president of the BBB Serving Wisconsin. “We cannot stress that enough. Between tickets and merchandise, there are a lot of scams and counterfeits out there that are sometimes difficult to immediately spot.”
Ticket scams often have certain characteristics: low prices on great seats, third-party sellers with no guarantees, or phony websites that look legitimate.
The BBB offers the following tips when purchasing tickets or team merchandise:
- Check out the official Packers/NFL ticket information on their website.
- If you buy a ticket outside the event, remember there are usually no refunds or guarantees. Research the ticket site or seller to see if it provides any buyer protections, such as money-back guarantees if tickets are fake. Always read the fine print.
- Be wary of ticket offers at extreme discount prices, these are most likely too good to be true.
- Buy directly from the team or league websites, official vendors at the stadium or other trusted stores. It’s okay to be skeptical of impostor brands. Sadly, they are out there waiting for events like this to prey on hopeful fans.
- Watch out for unsolicited emails from pop-up Internet shops selling gear for your favorite squad. If you don’t wish to receive emails from a business in question, opt to unsubscribe from their list. Replying to emails like this will confirm you’re using a working address and will likely get you in regular rotation for their spam.
- Beware of phony websites that appear to sell official team merchandise but are only after your credit card number.
- Do your due diligence before clicking “buy now.” Confirm details like a promised delivery time and refund or return policies.
- Before using an outside seller, check them out at bbb.org. Also, look for reviews from fellow consumers who have used the same site. Have they received any complaints for selling counterfeit or copycat items? Find accredited ticket brokers on BBB’s website.
- Avoid using sites such as Craigslist, which offers no guarantees or seller identification.
- Make sure the website is secure before you make a purchase online (look for the padlock and ‘https’ in the address bar).
- Ask the seller where he or she is located and how to contact him or her after the sale. If the seller is evasive or provides fraudulent contact info, do not pursue the offer.
- Never wire money or pay with a cashier’s check. There is no way of getting your money back with these options.
- Always pay by credit card. Your credit card company may be able to help you obtain a refund if the offer is fake or the tickets are never received.
- If you do come across a fraudulent business, share your experience. Write a BBB Customer Review or post your experience on BBB Scam Tracker and help other fans avoid the con.
- Be careful when booking a hotel if you’re traveling to see a game. Ask for all details about the hotel, including the address and confirmation number and call the hotel to verify that the room exists.