You've always wanted to experience a live playoff game but have never taken the leap and just done it. This year is going to be different. You've made the decision that it's something you'd like to treat yourself and your family to. You find out when tickets go on sale and call the moment that they're available. To you're amazement, tickets to the game have sold out within ten minutes. Now what? The kids have been talking about it to their friends for a week. You really don't want to disappoint everyone. There must be another way to get tickets to this game.
The scenario above will most inevitably lead you to some sort of secondary market. This mean resellers. This secondary market is comprised of some reputable companies but also includes a large number of dishonest ones. The secondary market also includes scalpers, who are the most untrustworthy source for tickets out there. Purchasing from a scalper is not safe, smart or legal. Most scams are perpetuated by street scalpers. Get where I'm going with this? Don't buy scalped tickets. We could easily write ten pages on the various types of ticket scams out there but for the sake of keeping it at an appropriate length, here's a few of the most common types of ticket scams to watch out for:
Never purchase a "print at home" ticket from someone. Seems pretty obvious? You'd be shocked at how many people I've actually dealt with who have been burned by this extremely easy scam. The original purchaser purchases from Ticketmaster or some other licensed ticket vendor and requests to print their tickets from their home computer. They can then, very easily, make as many photo copies of these "print at home" tickets and sell them on the street. So what happens when you get to the gate? Well, if you get there before the rest of the people who bought a copy you'll get in. If you're not first, your tickets will not allow you entry and will show as "already scanned in". This has absolutely nothing to do with the venue since you purchased illegally and you certainly can't expect the police to help you in this situation. You're out that money.
Another common scam revolves around lost or stolen tickets. Each ticket has a unique number and bar code making it identifiable. The original purchaser can report a ticket as having been lost or stolen, and the ticketing agency can invalidate the ticket and issue a replacement with a new ID. So the original purchaser will still have a valid set of tickets but can resell the deactivated tickets to an unsuspecting purchaser on the secondary market. If someone tries to enter a venue with a ticket whose ID has been reported as lost or stolen, the scanner will reject that ticket.
The next one revolves around group tours to sporting events. Again, there are reputable companies such as mine and some of my competitors' but there are also some that utilize misleading wording on their websites. So when you reserve your All-Star Weekend Extravaganza, be sure that game tickets are specifically promised. If the trip description says "accommodations on the night of the game", don't assume that you'll also get tickets to the game. Make sure everything you're supposed to be getting is clearly marked on your contract with the tour operator.
The final one we'll be covering today is done through phoney websites. Sometimes called mirror sites. A mirror site is a web site with a name that is close to a legitimate site, and pretends to perform the actions of the legitimate site. Random example: Knicksplayofftix.com. The scam site will simply accept payments for tickets, but deliver nothing. How do they get away with it? This type of scam is short lived and of the hit and run variety. It takes a while to investigate and by the time the fraud is uncovered, thousands of dollars may have changed hands.
There are tons of other types of scams out there but the ones above are some of the most common. Dishonest scalpers and brokers prey on unsuspecting fans who will do anything and spend any amount to attend certain events. The first line of defense against getting victimized is to stay calm. Don't wait until the day of the event and put yourself at risk by dealing with a scalper. Even if you don't get tickets at first, you've got time to research and find reputable resellers. That's the most important thing to remember when making your ticket purchase - research the seller! You're spending a significant amount of money here. If it seems like something's sketchy, it probably is.