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Know Your Broker – Beware of Fake Tickets

Two arrested and charged in One Direction e-ticket scam

TORONTO – Police have arrested and charged two people in connection with an e-ticket sales scam for a One Direction concert scheduled to be held in Toronto next year.

Earlier this month, a number of Justin Bieber fans were scammed when their concert tickets they bought off a popular classified website ended up being fake as well.  READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE

So how do you tell if you are buying authentic and legitimate tickets? Especially if they are being resold because the event is either sold out or any good tickets are just not available.

Buying tickets to events can be a daunting task. It often requires research and caution. Without these you may miss the event due to a sell out crowd, or you might get scammed with a fake ticket. There are a number of items to keep in mind when purchasing concert or sporting event tickets.

1. Use the events official website to determine if tickets are still available. This will guide you to the official ticket merchant.

2. You can also find tickets through reputable ticket broker websites such as StubHub and CannaTixx. Be sure to make sure the source is reliable and remember to never enter credit card information unless the site is secure and verified.

3. Be aware! Some of the best deals can be found on ticket exchange websites, but you need to make sure that the website can be trusted. Stay away from websites that do not offer any kind of guarantee.

4. You should look ahead of time to see what city the event is taking place. Check official websites of the band, sporting team or event to get official information. This will help make you aware of when the tickets are going to be available.

5. It can be tempting to purchase tickets from classified websites, such as craigslist. If you find a deal you simply cannot resist, then make sure you take plenty of precautions. Sometimes you might find an add on craigslist that includes a link to a payment processor, like PayPal. If this is the case take precaution to make sure the address in your browser matches the address of the site taking the payment. If the website is a real link, then purchasing via PayPal or Credit Card can actually help protect you from fraud. Often times these 3rd party payment processors include a guarantee that you will not get if you pay cash.

6. It is a good idea to become a member of the band or team’s fan club. Often times these exclusive groups offer special deals to fan club members. Sometimes this even includes early ticket availability for fan club members only.

7. EBay can be a great marketplace for great deals, but you should only purchase from a seller with a large amount of positive feedback. It is also important to make sure you read the entire auction to make sure you understand how the tickets will be delivered.

8. Read the conditions of sale. Some events that sell special VIP or platinum tickets will require that the ticket holder have the credit card that was used to purchase the ticket and they may even require that you present a photo ID that matches the name on the card. This would be a major problem if you bought the tickets from a 3rd party!

9. Review the layout of the venue. Visit the venue’s website and take a look at their seating chart. This will give you a good idea of how good your tickets actually are. This will also help you spot any fake tickets. If the seat on the ticket does not match the format and numbering of the venue, then stay away from those tickets as they are likely fakes.

10. Ask for a picture of the actual ticket. This will help you make sure the seats are as advertised and, most importantly, confirm that there are no obstruction warnings for the tickets you are purchasing. Any obstruction warnings would be printed in red on the front of the ticket. Viewing the ticket will help you make sure the ticket is as the seller is advertising.  

11. Avoid paying inflated prices by researching the market before purchasing tickets from a broker or 3rd party. Use your understanding of the market to spot deals that are ‘too good to be true’. Usually, they really are too good to be true and you will be stuck with fake tickets. If you find tickets with an unbeatable price, make sure to do your due diligence before purchasing the tickets.

12. Modern technology has allowed for some great new security features that you should be on the look out for. Check the event website to see if they advertise any special security features. Ticketek in Australia suggests that you look out for four primary security features.

These features include:

  • Reflective logo – Some sellers will have an easily identifiable, reflective logo. Ticketek, for example, has a specially designed paper that reflects in purple when put at an angle.
  • Barcode – Most major brokers and ticket distributors are fitted with barcodes to help major venues scan the tickets to ensure their authenticity.
  • Embossed logo – Many major ticket distributors will couple their reflective logo with an easy to identify, but difficult to forge, embossed logo.
  • Be sure to look for a transaction number. Look at a picture of the back of the ticket and match any potential transaction number to pictures of other tickets for sale for the same event. This will help you confirm that the number fits the appropriate format and might help you avoid tickets that do not look right.

13. Purchase your tickets early. Often times the sooner you buy tickets, the better deal you will receive. Make sure you also use price comparison tools and search the marketplace to get the best deal possible. Finally, enjoy the event.

How to avoid Craigslist Scams

Craigslist can be a great resource to get fantastic deals on concert and sporting event tickets. It can also be a very scary marketplace that is filled with scam artists and counterfeit tickets. Craigslist can also be a great opportunity to sell tickets you are no longer able to use. Simply post the tickets for sale and wait for the inquires to flood your email box of cell phone.

Often times you can get top dollar selling your tickets on craigslist. This can be a sketchy situation, however, because the exchange can often run into hundreds or thousands of dollars! Because of the opportunity for huge sells, it means you need to be very careful when you are on the purchasing end of that deal. A high potential return makes ticket sales on craigslist a prime opportunity.

to avoid this you should do research before buying. Do some research to make sure you know what the tickets should look like. Knowing the difference between a fake ticket and an authentic ticket is the difference between a great deal and a lot of heartache. While knowing how the ticket should look will not save you from a master counterfeiter, it will help lower the chances you will get scammed.

As a buyer you should try to meet face to face. When you do meet you need to set the meeting up in a public place and, if possible, during daylight hours. Be wary of sellers who seem so desperate to sell the tickets that they are willing to take very small sums of money relative to the asking price. At times you might find some great deals for season tickets.

Here are some other tips you can use to fell confident about purchasing season tickets on Craigslist:

  • Ask to see the receipt that shows they have already paid for the entire season. Read the invoice carefully as some season tickets can be purchased over time. If the tickets are paid in full then you are purchasing tickets from someone who does not own all the tickets yet!
  • Always meet in person to discuss the sale. Even if meeting in person you should try to persuade the seller to accept a credit card or PayPal payment. This protects both the seller and the buyer and should not be a problem. If they refuse to accept electronic payment then make payment with a cashiers check.
  • Get the seller’s account number for the tickets. Call the team or ticket agent and speak to the ticket rep to verify that the person selling the tickets has an account and has purchased the tickets. Legitimate season ticket holders should have no problem providing their ticket representatives name.
  • Be careful when someone is selling popular tickets for face value. While this is not totally rare it can be a sign of fake or scalped tickets.

Tickets can be easily reproduced so make sure that you know what you are purchasing.


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