With local teams making it into the NCAA Tournament, basketball fever is on the rise! BBB is warning basketball fans to be careful when buying tickets, travel deals, and basketball memorabilia.
Major sporting events always inspire scammers to take advantage of fans, with fake items, fake tickets, and too-good-to-be-true travel deals.
While counterfeit items may seem like a good deal, they are actually stolen goods. If you love your team, don’t buy a hat or jersey from someone who has stolen the team’s name and logo for their own profit. Many counterfeit items are more cheaply made than genuine merchandise, which means they may not last as long as the real thing.
Buying counterfeit memorabilia online poses even more potential problems. Some websites don’t even have merchandise to sell. They just want your credit card number and personal information so they can steal your identity or drain your bank account. The best way to ensure you are getting official sports gear is to buy directly from the team websites, from official vendors at the stadium, or from other trusted stores.
Craigslist has thousands of sports tickets listed, but the site offers no guarantees and sellers don’t have to provide identification to list tickets. Con artists post non-existent tickets on websites like Craigslist and ask for money to be wired to them. The buyer is out the money – and the tickets. If you decide to buy tickets outside the event, remember there are no refunds or guarantees. Official NCAA ticket information is available at http://www.ncaa.com/tickets.
Also, BBB’s website lists reputable, secondary market ticket firms that provide buyer protections, including money-back guarantees if tickets are fake. On some sites, sellers also must provide credit card numbers so the site can charge a seller’s card for the cost of replacement tickets if they sell fake tickets. Before you buy, check out a seller’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org, where you can find out whether complaints have been filed against the business and how the company handled any complaints.
Lodging scams also can be a problem for events like the NCAA Tournament. Scammers may lure people by advertising low prices – or they may charge a premium by claiming that the hotel is close to the arena when it isn’t. Others may offer tickets with the hotel room, but you have little or no way of verifying whether the tickets are real.
The following are some BBB tips for avoiding scams connected to special events:
For more advice on finding professionals you can trust, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.