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Better Business Bureau warns Cardinals fans about playoff ticket scams

Friday, September 30, 2011 | 6:42 p.m. CDT; updated 12:25 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 14, 2011

COLUMBIA — The St. Louis Cardinals made a historic comeback to secure the National League Wild Card. However, fans need to be cautious when buying playoff tickets.

The Better Business Bureau warns fans to beware of potential scams by fake ticket-sellers who are ready to cash in on people willing to pay top dollar for playoff tickets. This commonly happens when fans buy tickets outside of the stadium from scalpers and through online auctions, classifieds and bulletin boards.

"Sports fans can get burned by purchasing counterfeit tickets or paying in advance for tickets that never arrive," Michelle L. Corey, bureau president and CEO, said in a news release.

She advises fans to be guarded, specifically on the Internet.

"The Internet has become the arena of choice for sports fans looking to buy or sell tickets," Corey said in the release. "Unfortunately, it also has become a breeding ground for scammers looking to take advantage of sports fans."

According to the release, the secondary market for sporting and entertainment tickets is $10 billion a year.

To protect themselves from fakes, fans can find reputable, secondary market ticket firms on BBB's database that provide buyer protection, like money-back guarantees if tickets are fake. The Cardinals also have their own website for reselling tickets by season ticket holders.

The BBB news release offers the following advice for fans seeking tickets:

  • Be careful when buying tickets from someone on the street. When you get to the gate and find out your tickets aren't real, the seller will be long gone.
  • Before buying from an online ticket broker, look for the BBB logo on the website and click on it to make sure it is real. The BBB's dynamic seal will take you directly to the BBB Business Review on the company, where you can read about the company's record for responding to complaints. Make sure the website has a secure payment processing system, usually denoted by "https://" at the start of its URL or a small closed-lock icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • If you buy tickets through an online auction site, choose a seller with a long history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure the seller has recently sold other tickets.
  • Ticket buyers also should be wary of sellers who try to lure customers from a legitimate site to another site for a "private" transaction. Scammers often want to conduct their business on sites with names that mimic well-known companies but actually are fakes.
  • If you are buying tickets through an online classified advertisement site, never pay the seller by wire transfer. You will have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive or are counterfeit. 

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