Pittsburgh, PA - January 8, 2018 – With the Pittsburgh Steelers once again in contention for the Lombardi Trophy, your Better Business Bureau is warning fans to be smart when making online purchases for playoff tickets/merchandise and to ensure they are shopping from a trustworthy source. Last year, BBB Scam Tracker received over 5,200 combined reports regarding online purchase scams and counterfeit products with roughly 300 of these reports pertaining to various ticket scams.
“When it comes to such high profile events as NFL playoff games, online fraudsters capitalize on fans’ excitement and the limited, high demand for tickets to scam people out of their hard-earned money,” says Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for counterfeit tickets to appear on the secondary resale market and for websites to pop-up selling poor quality, unlicensed merchandise, if delivered at all.”
Previously, BBB issued a warning against suspicious apparel websites selling Steelers merchandise. However, BBB Scam Tracker reports indicate similar issues with another website that also claims to be the “official online store of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” steelersteamofficialshop.com. Consumers have advised BBB that they placed orders with the business and paid in full, but have not received products or a refund for their purchased products. The website falsely claims BBB accreditation and does not provide a valid physical address, but is shown as being registered out of China.
For consumers looking to purchase tickets to an NFL playoff game, BBB advises purchasing tickets directly through confirmed ticket sources. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ website lists Ticketmaster as the official ticket source to purchase tickets for individual games and NFL Ticket Exchange as another source to purchase game tickets directly from other season ticket holders and fans. When making a purchase through a ticket broker, check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers at VerifiedTicketSource.com. Remember that tickets being sold through alternative means, such as Craigslist or through ticket scalpers outside the stadium are difficult to verify.
When it comes to online purchase scams, beware of below market pricing. Fake websites or those selling counterfeit merchandise will often claim “officially licensed items,” such as jerseys, at a significant discount to encourage fans to make an immediate purchase and provide sensitive information. Check out the seller on bbb.org to confirm the company’s rating, complaint history and accreditation status. If a website is claiming to be an official site, authorized to sell licensed products, confirm this directly with the team, league or source it is claiming to be authorized by. Keep in mind that suspicious websites often provide a “contact us” submission form as the only way of reaching the company and if a phone number is provided, it may only lead to an answering machine or disconnected number. If no contact or verifiable business information is listed on the website, consider purchasing from an alternative source.