With concert season in full swing, sold-out shows mean resale tickets are in high demand. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), online shopping scams—including ticket purchases, package delivery alerts, and more—are ranked as the second highest scam risk for ages 18-24 and 55-64. In 2023, 82.6% reported losing money to this type of scam.

What are ticket scams?

Ticket scams occur when fraudsters trick you into sending money through payment methods like Zelle®, wire, cash, or gift card in exchange for tickets that don’t exist. These tickets may appear legitimate, with forged barcodes and company logos. In reality, the tickets are usually photocopies of an already sold ticket or completely photoshopped to look like the real thing.

Once you head to the venue with fake tickets in hand, it’s already too late. The ticket scam has blocked you from attending the show, put your financial and personal information at risk, and even caused significant monetary loss.

So how can you tell the difference between a real ticket offer and a scam? Here are four red flags to prevent you from falling victim.

1. Insisting on Direct or Alternative Payments

    You should be on the lookout for sellers insisting they get paid through Zelle®, cash, or other alternative methods. Fraudsters know some of those payment types can’t be refunded and tracked properly. Additionally, some fraudsters will ask for payment via gift card, which is rarely tracked and instantly gone when exchanged for a ticket. On the contrary, third-party sellers like TicketMaster or StubHub have refund policies and payment protection options in place.

    For more information about mobile payment scams, read “How to Be Vigilant and Stay Safe from Mobile Payment Scams” at efirstbankblog.com.

    2. Seller Legitimacy

      If you can’t verify a seller’s identity, consider purchasing tickets directly at the venue’s box office or from an authorized third-party seller. As an added precaution, ensure the website URL is correct and secure before entering your personal and financial information. Some fraudsters replicate websites with subtle changes to trick visitors into believing they are getting a good deal from a legitimate seller.

      For example, StubHube.com or tickettmaster.com may look right at first glance, but ultimately, they are similar websites with minor changes disguised to lure you into sharing personal and financial information.

      3. Price is Too Good to Be True

        If you notice the seller’s tickets are significantly less than other outlets or surprisingly affordable for the front row section, it may be too good to be true. You can call the venue directly to see if those seats and pricing are legitimate before making your purchase.

        4. Sellers Reaching Out to You

          If you’re active online and ‘like’ or RSVP to events on social media platforms, some fraudsters may see your excitement as an opportunity to reach out with deeply discounted ticket offers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing $1.2 billion to social media scams in 2022. With over 5.4 billion social media users, fraudsters have a large pool of suspects to target.

          To prevent yourself from falling victim, pay extra attention to the details. If the seller has an avatar as a profile picture, public profile, or very limited information, it’s likely they are trying to conceal their real identity.

          If your excitement got the best of you and payment was already made, there are several steps you can take to remedy the situation.

          What to do if you fall for a ticket scam

          1. Contact your bank’s Fraud Department to dispute the charge
          2. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
          3. File a local police report
          4. Report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant at IC3.gov

          To learn more about common scams involving social media, online dating, identity theft, and more, visit our Fraud Prevention page at efirstbankblog.com.

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