BBB is warning consumers to be vigilant when purchasing Super Bowl tickets and merchandise when shopping online. Scalpers and secondhand ticket sellers cash in big on major event tickets and there is no bigger event than the Super Bowl. In 2017, BBB saw an uptick in scams concerning online purchases that likely reflects the ever-growing number of people who shop online. With more people shopping online and one of the biggest events of the year coming soon, BBB offers advice when shopping online.
As the time window to buy tickets narrows, scammers may pray on desperation to trick consumers into paying big bucks for fake tickets and merchandise. Shortly after Super Bowl L in 2016, Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Control made 50 arrests on scammers who charged nearly $40 million for counterfeit Super Bowl tickets and merchandise. For Super Bowl LI, officials nabbed more than $20 million in counterfeit tickets and merch.
To combat this yearly peak in scam activity, BBB offers the following tips:
- Avoid online classifieds sites like Craigslist. Online classifieds are preying grounds for con men. It is difficult to know if a ticket will be accepted at the gate no matter how good it looks. With no way of verifying who the seller really is, it's better to buy tickets from known, vetted and reliable ticket vendors.
- Buy only from vendors you know and trust. Don't make hasty decisions because you're feeling the time crunch. Online ads, emails, social media advertisements may try to convince you that only they have the best deal. They might claim it's time sensitive or they're running low on tickets. Don’t click through on links in emails or online ads. Check the spelling of the url to make sure you are on the site you think you’re on.
- Check out the seller/broker. If you can't find tickets from vendors you're familiar with, be sure to look up the company on BBB.org. Learn what other customer experiences have been and don't take the seller's word that they are who they say they are. Make sure the website URL is the same as listed on their BBB Business profile.
- Know the refund policy. The terms of the transaction should be clear and conspicuously displayed during the purchase process. Only purchase tickets from a reseller that lays out their policies.
- Use payment methods that come with protection. Pay with a credit card or PayPal so you have some recourse if the tickets turn out to be not as promised.
- Be wary of advertisements with ridiculously low prices. Use common sense; some of these could be scams.