Scam or real? Tips on how to safely navigate the ticketing process

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ticket scams are on the rise with major events in Austin this month, such as Formula 1 and FC Austin. Experts warn of fraudsters’ techniques and the precautions you should take to ensure your transactions aren’t a scam.

Better Business Bureau Senior Regional Director Jason Meza said fall and summer are prime periods for scams based on sporting events and major concerts, which provide fuel for scammers to target ticket holders.

“Consumers online are looking for tickets for better deals or sold-out events, and a scammer comes up with an offer and you pay for the ticket and you either get a fake or you get nothing,” Meza said.

Meza outlines these measures for “digging a little deeper” when looking to purchase tickets:

  1. Buy directly from the venue
  2. Buy directly from a trusted authorized dealer
    • Fact checking their profile
    • Look up their history, phone numbers and everything to see if they are real people
  3. Watch out for similarities in names between places
    • Duplicate profiles: websites with added characters or numbers
  4. Use a secure payment option like a credit card instead of payment apps
    • Cash App, Venmo, Zelle – These are direct lines to your bank account for bots
  5. Beware of sponsored ads
    • Fraudsters can buy ads to rank higher in searches

Meza explained that scammers will use the emotional appeal of last-minute cancellations or sold-out events to lure consumers into buying from them because it’s easy and convenient. Once you authorize the transaction, it’s an uphill battle to prove to your bank that the fraud exists, and you get nothing in return.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to check if the ticket is genuine. You can call ahead and check if you have seats before for a seat; by doing this you can make sure you have a ticket before you show up.

If you’ve been scammed by a bot, you should start disputing it as soon as possible by filing a report with your local police and BBC Fraud Tracker and letting others know so they don’t fall into similar traps.

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