Scams abound with sold-out crowds
March 11, 2014

With sold-out events sprinkled around Southern California this year, from the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in Indio, to the Padres opening day & night games, the opportunities for scammers to act fraudulently are plentiful. With tickets in high demand, BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is warning consumers to protect personal financial information and be wary when handing over any form of payment in exchange for tickets, parking passes and merchandise.

This year, Coachella and Stagecoach goers alike were warned specifically of a phishing email sent in late-February purporting to be from Front Gate Tickets, the seller of the festival’s tickets. The email, sent for the most part to attendees with orders on a payment plan, included a link disguised as the Front Gate Tickets homepage and asked users to confirm their credit card numbers and login information. Front Gate is urging anyone who may have offered up this information to the fraudulent site to log in to their account and see if anything has been change. If so, customers are asked to call the ticketing service at 512-389-0315.

As tends to be the case with events that attract the attention and interest of huge crowds, scams are abundant and run the gamut. Tickets aren’t the only cause for scams – be careful when buying parking passes, camping tickets and even band or team merchandise. Not only may these be fake or knock-offs, but many times sellers will request the buyer to wire money as a form of payment. Once the money has been wired, the buyer may never see the product and it is nearly impossible to receive a refund.

To enjoy your next big event and avoid a potential scam like those mentioned above, there are several money-saving (and hassle-free!) tips you can follow to keep your cool and enjoy your experience:

Do Your Research: Before you start your resale search, know the approximate prices of tickets. This will help you figure out if an offer is a good deal or far too low to be legitimate. If you fine a reseller that seems a bit low in their pricing, don’t be tempted – move along. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Avoid Craigslist: It may be a convenient and cheaper place to find tickets, but it is riddled with scammers. You will undoubtedly pay a higher price on sites such as StubHub, but it’s a safer bet to pay more than be scammed at a lower price.

o If you decide to browse Craigslist, avoid postings that don’t list a phone number, always attempt to meet the seller in a public place and never pay with cash.

Use a Credit Card: Credit card purchases are tracked and will provide recourse for you if in fact you do end up purchasing fake tickets. Though it may not always be possible to use your credit card, it is always best to do so when available.

If you beileve you have fallen victim to a scam, do not hesitate to contact your local BBB by visiting bbb.org.  For more scam alerts, tips and news, visit the BBBlog at bbb.org.