AG warns of ticket scams


COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to beware of ticket scams when seeking tickets to the NBA Finals, summer concerts, and other in-demand events.

Consumers have reported suspected ticket scams involving a variety of events, including Cavs games and concerts, in complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The average reported loss is over $200.

“We want people to know that there are con artists out there,” Attorney General DeWine said. “If you’re trying to buy tickets on the secondary market from someone you don’t know, be careful. Some people will try to sell you tickets that don’t exist.”

The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit has pursued several ticket-scam cases. In most instances, the perpetrator advertised tickets on Craigslist and collected payment from buyers, but then failed to provide any tickets or refunds.

Tips to avoid ticket scams include:

Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other online marketplaces may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but these offers may be scams. Some may offer phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly, falsely saying they have a medical emergency or an overseas military assignment, for example.

Be careful dealing with individual third-party sellers. To protect yourself, deal with reputable businesses instead of third-party individuals who are not associated with an event. Before providing any payment or personal information, research a seller’s reputation, especially that of an individual seller. Search the seller’s name, username, email address, phone number, and other details for information. Even if you find no negative information, don’t assume the seller is trustworthy. Some con artists change names regularly.

Check the venue’s ticket policies. Increasingly, a number of venues and events predominantly use electronic tickets. If you’re trying to buy a paper ticket, make sure it’s real. Check both sides of the ticket, and be aware that some ticket scammers use falsified photos, logos, or trademarks to create counterfeit tickets that look legitimate even though they are not.

Be wary of sellers who request specific forms of payment. Con artists often request payment methods that are difficult to trace or recover, such as wire transfers, cash, or gift cards. They also may ask buyers to use money-transfer apps or other payment options that may not carry specific fraud protections.

Consider paying with a credit card. If a problem arises, you generally have greater ability to dispute charges on a credit card compared to other payment methods. If you’re using a mobile wallet or peer-to-peer payment service, be sure to understand the protections that the service does (or does not) provide before you make a transaction.

Consumers who believe they’ve been defrauded should immediately report the scam and contact the company they used to make the payment. Ohioans can report scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or by calling 800-282-0515. Suspicious Craigslist ads can be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office directly from Craigslist.

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