RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With major events like the Final Four and the Dreamville Festival set to attract thousands of folks, scammers are taking note.
They use excitement surrounding real events to create fraudulent events or sell you tickets that don’t exist, so you need to be careful you don’t become a victim.
The estimated 40,000 who will come to Dreamville this weekend no doubt purchased their tickets online.
It is a legitimate event and the official website selling tickets for Dreamville is easily verified.
However, scammers like to be tricky when they create fake events that take your money creating unverified websites which sell tickets that don’t exist.
Agencies that track these things estimate more than 5 million fake tickets were sold prior to the pandemic, costing victims hundreds of dollars for each fake ticket purchased.
Now with things opening up again, The Better Business Bureau says scammers are back at their old tricks selling tickets that aren’t real.
“Scammers oftentimes use names similar to real events,” said Alyssa Parker of the BBB Eastern North Carolina.
Here’s one way to check if the ticket is legit.
Ask to see a photo of it and make sure the seat and row are actually in the venue. You can check online seating charts to do that.
Also make sure the date, time and location are correct.
“Oftentimes scammers are not detail-oriented in that regard, so the date time and venue may be off in the fake ticket you are trying to purchase,” said Parker.
If you’re looking at a website offering tickets, check its contact information.
“Make sure the website has a real phone number, address and email address,” said Parker. Once you have that contact info, verify it.
Sometimes you’ll find messages on social media from someone claiming to be reselling a ticket at a low price because they can no longer attend the event. Avoid those offers as well as cut-rate ticket prices on unsecured websites.
“If prices are much lower than elsewhere – it’s likely a scam,” said Parker.
The National Association of Ticket Brokers offers 10 rules for ticket buyers that include never buying tickets on the street or outside a venue and never paying with cash.
When it comes to purchases online, credit cards are your safest option.
“It gives you ample time to review and challenge, whereas a debit card goes right into your bank account,” said cybersecurity expert Adam Levin.
Also never pay for tickets with a wire transfer or gift cards. Money sent that way is gone, virtually unrecoverable.
The National Association of Ticket Brokers also offers an online complaint form if you think you’ve been scammed or done dirty by a ticket seller.
Generally speaking, stay away from things like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and other free online listings when buying event tickets. There’s too much risk from those third parties on those sites and you likely to get burned.