SCAM ALERT: Buying Tickets Online



SCAM ALERT: Buying Tickets Online

Last week I attended a big name show in Portland.  While in line to enter the show, I witnessed two women who were turned away because the tickets that they had purchased were fake.  They had purchased the tickets online, and the person who sold them the tickets had apparently sold duplicates of the same tickets to other unsuspecting buyers on the internet.  The result - multiple people with the same ticket for the same show.  Buying tickets for events online has become the easiest and most convenient way for people to attend an event.  However, aside from the legitimate event ticket site, there are also quite a number of ticket reselling sites available.  These have taken the place of the traditional “scalper” standing on the corner before the event.  With reseller sites, you can often find tickets for sold out shows, albeit at a hefty price.  You can also sometimes find discounted tickets available for shows.  However, be aware that with so many of these reseller sites available, it has become even easier to get scammed.

A quick and perfectly legal and useful Google search unearths a multitude of ticket resale sites in addition to the actual official event ticket sale site and it is very hard, unless you read all the fine print, to figure out which site is which.  We encourage you to read the fine print or else you may end up like the ladies in line with me with expensive, useless, fake or duplicate, tickets, a bad evening and a skinny bank account.  If you do your own perfectly legitimate Google search, for a big name show, you will see what we mean – dozens of folks offering to sell you tickets – and it’s not the show’s fault they are being scammed too! 

Nowadays when you buy tickets to a show, you are given the option to print your tickets at home right away.  This digital image is very easy to duplicate, and this is how the ladies that I witnessed found themselves ripped off.  They purchased tickets from a scammer who had a digital ticket. It is very east to sell this ticket again and again to people and there is no way for the buyer to know that the ticket has already been accounted for by another buyer.

How can one avoid getting ripped off online?  The best way is to make sure that you will not be ripped off is to buy from the onsite box office direct, use only the official online event ticketing site, or buy your tickets online from a large national or regional seller like Ticketmaster.com or Ticketswest.

If, however, you want to buy tickets to a sold out event, then your only option is to go with a reseller.  You will often pay more, and there is more risk involved with such a purchase.  The best way to protect yourself is to look at reviews for the seller online to make sure that the seller and the site are legitimate.  One way to do this is running a Google search for the seller and the website and see if any negative reviews or scam articles show up in the search. When you have decided to purchase from a seller or site, make sure the seller or site offers a guarantee on their tickets, and if time allows, always opt to receive the tickets by snail mail.
Legitimate sites like Craigslist and eBay are very popular for purchasing tickets to events.  Often times people who bought tickets to an event, they can no longer attend, will quite legitimately use these sites to quickly sell their tickets.  But, as with all things, there are rogues that take advantage of perfectly legitimate sites and ruin them for others so be aware that when using these sites you are particularly vulnerable to scamers. 

And remember, if after all your careful research you are still in doubt about where to purchase your tickets, call the venue where the event is being held, and they will be able to direct you to the official ticketing service.


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