Beware of scammers selling tickets amid March Madness

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We’re smack in the middle of March Madness and there’s nothing better than watching your team live.

But just like the athletes, you need to be on your game and watch out for people selling fake tickets.

“Anytime we have a big event coming up like March Madness, the scam artists come out,” said Mallory Wojciechowski with the BBB Of Eastern North Carolina.

There are games you are desperate to get any seat in the house and when that happens – you open yourself up to scammers.

According to the BBB’s Scam Tracker, more than 400 people fell victim to criminals who operated ticket scams last year.

In most cases, people bought tickets from third parties but never received them, or tried they to go to the event only to find out they couldn’t get in with their electronic ticket.

“That electronic ticket can be sent to numerous people,” said Wojciechowski. “It may be a legit ticket, but the first person to use that ticket gets in—others will not be able to get into the event.”

A lot of times with a big event, the tickets sell out immediately so you’re forced to resort to third-party sites.

“Do your research when looking at these sites before you make a purchase to see if not only are they legitimate but to make sure you’re putting in credit card information that’s in a safe and secure site,” said Wojciechowski.

The National Association of Ticket Brokers is a great place to do research or to make a complaint.

Also be wary of buying tickets from an individual.

Just last month, Carrboro police arrested a man accused of selling fake tickets on Craig’s List to a Duke vs. UNC basketball game.

“Like with any scam this appeals to people like who they think they are getting a good price on a hard to find item,” said Cpt. Christ Atack of the Carrboro Police Department.

He said when victims see a deal – “They want to jump at it so that it doesn’t get lost or nobody else gets it and they get to go.”

The Better Business Bureau said it’s always best to deal with a firm that’s:

  • A member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (They offer a  refund guarantee)
  • Always check that it’s a secure URL Link (look for https)
  • Pay with a credit card (So you can dispute the charges if needed)
  • Read the fine print

“That’s a big thing,” said Wojciechowski. “You need to know how soon before the event will you receive them—or if there any other fees you’ll be hit with.”

Even if you’re not into basketball, these warnings could still apply to you because any big event requiring tickets will bring out scammers looking to steal your money.

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