BBB Advice

by Stephen Mayer

While most college football fans buy directly from the venue, the temptation to save money by using a cheap scalper, or a somewhat-suspect online ad can be strong. Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific urges you to do your research before you hand over your money.

According to the BBB Scam Tracker, football fans reported losing nearly $4,000 to scams last year. The most common scams around football include reselling fake or non-existent tickets through online classifieds, counterfeit merchandise, price gouging, ticket scalping and scammers who use bots to buy thousands of tickets and resell them at inflated prices. Scammers often use similar tactics to target festival and concertgoers.

If you’re starting to think twice about buying those tickets you’ve been thinking about, don’t worry. BBB has compiled simple, easy to follow tips to help protect yourself from these schemes.

• Pay with protection. Paying with a credit card offers consumers protection if scammed. The credit card company may be able to help obtain a refund if the tickets are fake. Be wary of online sellers that ask to wire money and don’t accept credit cards.  

• Verify the tickets. To check the authenticity of tickets, ask for a copy of the seller’s invoice or purchasing receipt to check where the seller bought the tickets. It’s also recommended to contact the original promoter directly.   

• Check out the seller/broker. Before you decide to purchase tickets on other sites, be sure to look the seller up on Secure, legal sites for second-hand purchases include BBB Accredited businesses SeatGeek and Vivid Seats. These sites guarantee their consumers and sellers a secure transaction. 

• Shop local. If you’re searching for ticket bargains on classified sites and apps such as Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, OfferUp and Letgo, it’s wise to meet sellers in person in a safe, public place.   

— Stephen Mayer is the Better Business Bureau marketplace manager for Oregon. He can be reached at 971-201-8528 or .