CLEVELAND — Amid high demand for NBA Finals tickets and reports of counterfeit ticket sales, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Cleveland Cavaliers fans to beware of ticket scams for the remainder of the series between the Cavs and the Golden State Warriors.
“Scammers will do whatever they can to get you to pay, and then they’re gone,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Once you find out something is wrong, it’s too late. The sad truth for most people is that once they have lost money in a scam, they will never see that money again. That’s why prevention is so important.”
In the last several years, Ohioans have reported losing hundreds of dollars to ticket scams involving popular sporting events and concerts. In most cases, the consumers found tickets for sale on Craigslist and paid the seller, but received nothing in return. Also, some scammers create counterfeit paper tickets to sell to unsuspecting buyers.
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 “sellers” also may provide phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly for a good price. For example, they may falsely claim to have a family emergency or to be in the military.
- 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 for individual sellers. Conduct an online search using the seller’s name, username, email address, and/or telephone number along with words like “reviews,” “scam,” “fake tickets,” or “counterfeit tickets.”
- Check the venue’s ticket policies. Increasingly, a number of venues and events predominantly use electronic tickets. However, 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.
- Consider paying with a credit card. If a problem arises, you generally have greater ability to dispute credit card charges as compared to other payment methods. Be skeptical of sellers who say you must pay via wire transfer, prepaid money card, or gift card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once payment is provided, it is very difficult to recover.
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 at https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.