Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed When Buying Sports or Concert Tickets
Written by Preet Banerjee

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Imagine saving up your hard earned money, deciding to splurge on a once in a lifetime opportunity to see your favourite artist or sports team in a playoff game, getting to the admission gate and having your ticket rejected as fake. It happens all the time. Here's a Reddit user with a firsthand account of getting scammed after buying a fake ticket.

When the Toronto Raptors clinched a berth in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, at one point tickets for courtside seats were selling for $60,000. Two days before Game 1, the price had dropped to $25,000 on StubHub. And that's in U.S. dollars.

While those prices are out of reach for most people, there are many who might be looking at shelling out over $1,000 (Canadian) for a ticket for a nosebleed seat listed on the same site. And with prices that high, people will be actively trying to find better deals.

Here are some things to look out for to avoid getting scammed.

Found a Steal? It Might Be Too Good to be True


A quick scan of tickets on online classified ad sites can show some people offering tickets at 50% off (or more) for much better seats than what you might see on the well established ticket reselling sites. Deals that just seem so out of line with other prices offered are a big red flag. Keep your guard up!

"Always keep in mind that with 'buyer beware,' take all necessary safety precautions as well," says Cyrus Hojjati, Senior Manager, Fraud Governance and Operations at Tangerine.

If you're purchasing anything online from someone you don't know, think about when and where you will meet to complete the transaction. Some police services offer designated safe exchange sites at police stations specifically for this purpose. Some safe exchange sites are located at event venues – an added bonus as you could inquire about getting venue staff to verify the tickets while you are there.

First Come, First Served?


A common scam is to sell you a printed copy of an e-ticket, but to then also sell the same copies to a bunch of other people. The first person to actually get their ticket scanned will be able to enjoy their event. Everyone else? Their ticket will show up as already used, and they'll be out of luck.

Try Paying After You Get the Tickets


Avoid paying for tickets you don't get right at the time of transaction.

If you are making the transaction online, many official ticket merchants and reputable ticket resellers have apps that allow for verified electronic ticket transfers. Ideally, look for electronic tickets that can be transferred into your name specifically through official apps and providers. Avoid making money email transfers through wire payments to purchase tickets unless you know the person well.

Pay the Going Rate or Watch on TV?


Commercial resellers that have buyer protections in place offer you some recourse if something goes wrong. You pay a lot in service fees, and ticket prices are not always palatable, but if you use their in-app secure ticket transfer protocols, they may offer guarantees on your ticket purchases. 

"Take advantage of your credit card's online purchasing protection for additional protection against fraud or disputes with the merchant if the described services were not delivered with your ticket purchase," says Hojjati.

You could roll the dice on finding a great price on high demand tickets through online marketplaces that cut out the middlepersons, but be very careful if you do. Paying the higher, going rate through a commercial reseller or watching the game with friends at a bar or at home instead are both better options than getting scammed.


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