It’s March Madness season again, which means it is time to stock up on your favorite top team’s merchandise, plan your annual NCAA tournament bracket and maybe even score tickets for the big game. While March Madness is all fun and games, it doesn’t mean that clever scammers aren’t thinking up ways to bring out the ‘mad’ in ‘madness.’ Major sporting events provide the ultimate opportunities for scammers to target avid and desperate fans who desire team jerseys and tickets to the games, which become even more expensive and scarce than usual as the season approaches its end.
Don’t let those scammers capitalize on your desire to make this the best March Madness ever. Follow these tips to make sure you are getting what you pay for:
- Check out the official NCAA ticket information at ncaa.com/tickets.
- If you buy a ticket outside the event, remember there are usually no refunds or guarantees. Research the ticket site or seller to see if it provides any buyer protections, such as money-back guarantees if tickets are fake.
- If you’re buying tickets online, ask for a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the tickets match the venue.
- Be wary of ticket offers at extreme discount prices, these are most likely too good to be true.
- Buy directly from the team or league websites, official vendors at the stadium or other trusted stores.
- Beware of phony websites that appear to sell official team merchandise but are only after your credit card number.
- Before using an outside seller, check them out at bbb.org. Also look for reviews for others who have used the same site.
- Avoid using sites such as Craigslist, which offers no guarantees or seller identification.
- Make sure the website is secure before you make a purchase online (look for the padlock and ‘https’ in the address bar).
- Read ads carefully to understand what is being offered and at what price.
- Ask the seller where he or she is located and how to contact him or her after the sale. If the seller is evasive or provides fraudulent contact info, do not pursue the offer.
- Don’t be fooled by ads that pile on little incentive like T-shirts and lanyards, these have little value and are only used to make the offer look better when it really isn’t that great.
- Never wire money or pay with a cashier’s check. There is no way of getting your money back with these options.
- Always use a credit card. Your credit card company can help you obtain a refund if the offer is fake or the item is never received.
Also, be careful when booking a hotel if you are traveling to see a game. Ask for all details about the hotel, including address and confirmation number and call the hotel to verify that the room exists.
Keep these tips in mind when making any March Madness purchase. For information and news you can trust, visit bbb.org.