Attorney General DeWine offers tips to avoid ticket scams this fall

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released tips to help consumers avoid ticket scams for football games, concerts and other popular events this fall.

Ticket scams often involve third-party individual sellers who are not associated with an event. The scammers may advertise on Craigslist, other websites or in person. After consumers pay for the tickets, they receive either nothing at all or tickets that are counterfeit, stolen or otherwise invalid.

“Con artists will go to great lengths to make you believe what they’re trying to sell you,” DeWine said. “They’ll make up excuses for why they have extra tickets to a game. They’ll send you detailed information or pictures of the tickets. But once they get your money, they disappear. We warn people that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Scam artists generally instruct consumers to pay using wire transfer, cash, prepaid money cards or other forms of payment that are difficult to trace. Once the payment is transferred from the consumer to the “seller,” the money generally cannot be recovered.

To avoid ticket scams, consumers should take the following steps to protect themselves, according to DeWine:

  • Buy from reputable sellers. Deal with reputable businesses instead of third-party individuals who are not associated with an event. Before providing any payment or personal information, research a seller’s reputation. Check the return policy, and find out what would happen if the event is cancelled. If you’re trying to buy tickets from an individual, be especially cautious. Conduct an online search using the seller’s name, username, email address or phone number along with words like “reviews,” “scam,” “fake tickets” or “counterfeit tickets.” Even if you find no complaints, don’t assume the seller is reputable. Some con artists use fake names or incorrect contact information.
  • Check the venue’s ticket policies. Find out how tickets are being sold and what kind of tickets will be accepted at the event. Increasingly, a number of venues and events primarily use electronic tickets. However, if you’re trying to buy a paper ticket, take steps to make sure it’s real. Inspect both sides of the ticket, and be aware that some ticket scammers create counterfeit tickets that look legitimate, even though they are not.
  • Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other sites may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but the offers may be scams. Some scammers also provide phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly for a good price. For example, they may falsely claim to have a family emergency or to be in the military.
  • Consider paying with a credit card. If a problem arises, you generally have greater ability to dispute credit card charges versus other forms of payment. Be skeptical of sellers who say you must pay via wire transfer, prepaid money card or gift card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once payment is provided, it is very difficult to recover.
  • Report suspected scams. If you think you’ve sent money to a scam artist, immediately contact the payment system you used. For example, if you wired the money, contact the wire-transfer company. (In rare cases, payment can be stopped before it’s picked up in a scam.) Also flag suspicious posts online.

Ohio consumers have reported losing hundreds of dollars to scams while trying to buy tickets for Ohio State football games, Cleveland Cavaliers games, concerts and other popular events.


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