Play Smart during the College Tournament
The 2014 NCAA field is set and the local seventh-seeded Oregon Ducks
and eighth-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs
are vying for a chance to make it to the Final Four
. While fans are busy filing out brackets, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is warning about tournament season schemes.
Sophisticated cybercriminals create fake team websites and manipulate search engines to push the fakes to the top of search results. Unsuspecting fans try to purchase tickets or merchandise, but the phony sites are only used to collect credit card numbers and personal information for identity theft purposes.
Scammers target fans looking to buy gear online, offering cheap knock-offs and other unlicensed memorabilia. Remember, counterfeit merchandise may be cheaper but it diverts funds away from legitimate organizations and puts profits into the pockets of criminals.
Game tickets for the second and third rounds can cost $300 to $1,800 per ticket. With high prices and diehard fans, it is certain that fraudsters will try to hustle fake tickets
BBB offers advice to March Madness fans.
- Play smart. Use credit when buying game tickets; if they don’t arrive or turn out to be fakes, charges can be disputed.
- Reject offers to wire money. Con-artists often use classified websites like Craigslist to post non-existent tickets and then ask for payment to be wired.
- Stay on the defense. Research companies that offer travel packages at bbb.org; verify reservations, cancellation procedures and refund policies.
- Remain in-bounds. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Choose authorized ticket and merchandise retailers; check with NCAA for more information.
BBB wants fans to have a slam dunk of a time during March Madness; for more advice on avoiding common scams visit the BBB News & Events
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, founded in 1918 and serving more than 9 million consumers, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2014, people turned to BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington more than 5 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 264,000 local businesses and for Charity Reports on more than 1,200 local charities, all available for free at akorww.bbb.org.