Want to buy Packers-Vikings tickets? Buyer Beware, Warns Wisconsin BBB

November 03, 2009

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning football fans to be careful when purchasing tickets for the highly anticipated, Packers-Vikings football game this weekend.

Counterfeit tickets and other scams are common, especially on Craig’s List, classified advertisements or from ticket scalpers. Earlier this year, one Packers fan paid $4,000 to an online seller for a season ticket package that never arrived in the mail as expected. Last season, police discovered that counterfeit tickets were sold near Lambeau Field before several games. To make sure you don’t get scammed, the Wisconsin BBB offers this advice:

• If purchasing tickets from an individual before the game, look for signs that the ticket is counterfeit. Authentic tickets for this game will have a “Packers” watermark on the back that can only be seen at an angle, perforated edges along the left and bottom sides, and ink that won’t smudge when you rub it with a wet finger.

• Be careful of people who sell authentic tickets that have been invalidated. For example, season ticket holders can re-sell their tickets electronically. When this happens, a new ticket is printed that invalidates the previous paper ticket. There’s no way for people to know if they’re buying an authentic ticket that’s been invalidated, so the BBB recommends that you check ID and take the name and phone number of the seller. More importantly, you should only buy from people or ticket brokers that you trust. Look for a BBB logo to select a ticket broker that is accredited by the BBB, or find one at www.bbb.org.

• If purchasing tickets from an individual online, look for local sellers whom you can meet in person to pick up the tickets.

• Ask the seller to email you a picture of the tickets, including a receipt or other proof that the tickets are not counterfeit. Scrutinize the picture carefully, looking for any alterations or inaccuracies, and cross-check the seat assignment with the map on the venue’s Web site before you buy.

• Meet in a public place and do not go alone. The “seller” could be a scammer who is looking for a victim to rob. He/she knows where you’ll be and that you’re carrying a lot of money, which makes you an easy target.

• When meeting the seller, ask for some identification, and write it down in case you need it later.

• When buying from an individual through an online exchange, don’t be lured away from the Web site by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange Web site, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.

• If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous, history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.

• If possible, don’t pay with cash. Use Paypal, credit card or personal check, which offer some protection if the tickets turn out to be fake. Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to the seller; you’ll have no way to get your money back if the tickets never arrive.