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Better Business Bureau shares tips to avoid scams when buying NCAA tickets

Better Business Bureau

CHARLOTTE – With March Madness upon us, many fans are looking for tickets to the games of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.

There are countless ways for consumers to find tickets and connect with online marketplaces, ticket sellers and resellers. Unfortunately, some of them are rip-offs.

Last year, Better Business Bureau received more than 300 reports on the BBB Scam Tracker about ticket scams related to sports, concerts, theater and more. Countless more go unreported.

BBB and the National Association of Ticket Brokers are working to raise awareness and educate fans about the smartest ways to buy tickets on the secondary resale market.

Here are some tips, whether you are looking for tickets to a game or another activity:

Purchase from the venue. Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many now offer secondary sales options as well.

Consider your source.  Know the difference between a professional ticket broker, who is a legitimate and accredited reseller; a ticket scalper, who is an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller; and a scammer, who is selling fraudulent tickets.

Check out the seller or broker. Look up the seller on bbb.org to learn what other customers have experienced. Check to see if he is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200 percent purchase guarantee on tickets.

Look up the seller on VerifiedTicketSource.com to confirm you are buying from an NATB-member resale company.

Buy only from trusted vendors. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system.

Don’t click through emails or online ads; a common scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company.

Know the refund policy. You should purchase tickets only from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Before the purchase, sellers should disclose to the buyer the location of the seats represented by the tickets, either orally or by reference to a seating chart. If the tickets are not available for immediate access to the purchaser, sellers should disclose when they will be shipped or be available for pickup.

• Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfer or cash transactions are risky; if the tickets are fraudulent, you probably won’t be able to get your money back.

Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, ads for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment; some of these ads will be scams, especially if the prices are low.

If you’re unsure, verify your tickets. Pay a visit to the arena where the game or concert will be held. Present your ticket to customer service for verification that your ticket is legitimate.

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