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How to Keep a Ticket Scam from Ruining Your Summer - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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How to Keep a Ticket Scam from Ruining Your Summer

by Charlie Cohn

Are you getting excited for the arrival of summer? Plan to head to a music festival with friends? Want to catch a baseball game with the family? If you need tickets, be careful where you buy them or you may fall victim to a scam. Before you start booking your fun in the sun, read these tips to learn how to stay safe when purchasing tickets to the biggest event of the summer.

Always Buy from a Trusted Site

The easiest way to stay safe is to buy your tickets from the official event website or direct from the venue. More often than not, the online shopping cart experience will be powered by trusted sites like Ticketmaster, Live Nation, or Eventbrite. These sites sell verified tickets, have safe checkouts, and come backed with a guarantee. It takes a little planning in advance, but if you can purchase tickets ahead of time, you’ll steer clear of trouble.

Of course, some events sell out before you have a chance to purchase tickets directly from the source. In this case, you may find yourself Googling for tickets at second-tier brokers or peer-to-peer sites. Be careful when selecting which site to make your purchase from. If you’re not familiar with the website, check to see if it has been reported as risky before creating an account and entering any personal or billing information. Malicious sites target victims with scams that harvest passwords, steal identities and billing information, and fail to deliver tickets. By checking the reputation of a site before making a purchase, you can identify which ones to avoid.

When turning to the second-hand market, stick to trusted resellers like StubHub and Ticket Liquidator. Like the direct ticket brokers, these sites provide money-back guarantees protecting you against false tickets, secure checkouts that keep your financial information safe, and even offer discounts to help you save on reseller prices. Additionally, Ticketmaster has set up a peer-to-peer ticket exchange where fans can sell verified tickets backed by the security of their site.

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You know where you can find last-minute deals on tickets? Craigslist. Do you know what else you can find on Craigslist? A scam.

Cyber criminals use ticket sales to initiate any number of Craigslist scams including selling fake, duplicate, or expired tickets, stealing your banking information, and sending viruses as email attachments. These attacks can cost you time, money, and even your identity.

Thankfully, experts at USNews and Yahoo have shared their tips, which I have distilled along with my own recommendations to avoid falling victim to an attack:

  • Never share your bank account number, passwords, phone number, home address, or other sensitive personal information online.

  • Set up a new email account for free and dedicate it to Craigslist correspondence to avoid sharing your private address.

  • If you’re downloading tickets as an attachment or via a link, make sure you purchase antivirus software that checks email attachments and embedded links for viruses, phishing attempts, and other malware.

  • Use PayPal or Amazon Payments (which has a great set of guidelines to avoid payment scams as well) to make a payment and refuse to send money via a wire. Both provide buyer protection plans that give you the ability to report fraud and recollect costs.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Use common sense and stay vigilant when buying anything from a stranger online.

By taking these precautions you’ll drastically reduce your chance of falling victim to a scam. Remember, however, that Craigslist does not provide you any protections and maintains that “Craigslist is not involved in any transaction.” Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to stay safe.

Getting Upfront and Personal

If you fail to find tickets ahead of time and choose to brave the crowds in hopes of finding a ticket at the event – good luck, you’re on your own. When you purchase tickets from a scalper or individual at a concert or sporting event, you take substantial risks. Not only can you get taken for your money, but purchasing tickets on the street can be dangerous as well.

Though I cannot advocate buying tickets off the street (despite having done it on a number of occasions), I can offer a few things to consider:

  • Try to secure will-call tickets or a ticketless entry transfer. Scalpers can sell several of the same paper print-out tickets and be off with your money before you know it.

  • Purchase tickets in a group and send one person into the event while the rest of the group waits to pay the seller. If they make it in, have the group hand over the cash and enjoy the night.

  • Ask fans that are going into the show if they have extra tickets instead of scalpers. If they do, they’ll be happy to offload them to a fellow fan and recoup their costs.

  • Again, use common sense! It’s your best defense.

Ready to make your summer dream a reality? Plan ahead, and you can buy your tickets from a trusted source before they sell out and you’ll avoid the scams altogether. If you do find yourself looking to secondary markets, remember these tips to stay safe and be wary.

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