Scams Could Leave Ticket Holders ‘Standing at the Gate’ – NBC Chicago

Already scored tickets to Taylor Swift’s sold-out, three night residency coming up in Chicago? You’re one of the lucky ones.

Earlier this year, Ticketmaster canceled the general public ticket sale to Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated “The Eras Tour” citing “high demand” and “insufficient remaining ticket inventory.” But that hasn’t stopped ticketless-but-hopeful fans from searching high and low on resale websites and online marketplaces for the chance to see Swift at Soldier Field in 2023.

“Looking for 2 Chicago Tickets!” a post to the Facebook group “Taylor Swift|The Era Tour Tickets 2023” reads, followed by 102 comments. “Any night, $500 or less.”

Another one, shared in the group “Taylor Swift Eras Tour tickets For Sale/Legit” has a similar ask.

“Hey, anyone have 2 tickets to any of the Chicago shows,” the post says. My daughter is bummed that we don’t have tickets, and Stubhub is so pricey!”

The posts aren’t unique to Chicago. They’re part of dozens on posts on Facebook — from those seeking to both obtain and sell tickets. And consumer advocacy groups are warning all concert-goers to be on high alert for ticket scams this summer.

The Better Business Bureau says it expects “sweeping scam attempts because of this year’s major artist line-up,” a release from the BBB says, including everyone from Beyoncé, to Madonna, to Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen.

“Plus, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Ravinia, Summerfest, and other venues are wildly popular,” the release continues. “Many online platforms are already flooded with tickets for sale.”

And while many concert tickets offered for sold-out shows may be legitimate, others are not, BBB president and CEO Steve J. Bernas warns.

“One of the first things to do in advance is to be on the lookout for fake websites, tickets, and merchandise,” Bernas says. “You don’t want to show up at the gate after waiting months and paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars only to find out your ticket is fake.”

“There are countless ways for consumers to find tickets online, with online marketplaces, ticket sellers, resellers, and unfortunately, some are rip-offs,” Bernas adds.

According to Bernas, buyers should use “extra caution” when buying tickets sold on online marketplace platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

“Buying tickets on these sites from people you do not know is similar to buying tickets in a dark alley,” Bernas said. “Scammers are skilled at providing realistic tickets and fake receipts.”

But scammers aren’t always easy to spot.

“Just wondering how I can tell if tickets someone are trying to sell me are fake or not?” one Facebook message posted to a Taylor Swift ticket group reads. “I’m afraid of getting scammed and losing hundreds of dollars. I’m trying to buy from someone on here, but what if they already sold to other people and I get to the stadium after purchasing and she is already there with her tickets and it was a scam? Is that even possible? Please let me know how I can make sure I am really getting the tickets?”

Unfortunately, electronic exchanges, tickets and QR codes for “may never be detected as fakes until you’re left standing at the gate,” Bernas says. According to the BBB, ticket buyers should only buy from trusted vendors. If that’s not possible, the Bernas recommends the buyer research the seller or broker “to learn what other customers have experienced.”

Here’s what else to watch out for:

Fake Websites: The BBB suggests buying tickets off of the venue’s official site, but beware, as imitation sites can appear first in internet searches. Additionally, fake websites will offer tickets at low prices to “trick people into entering credit card information” upfront.

Forged Barcodes: Counterfeit tickets with fake barcodes may look professional, but will show a copied and posted logo upon further inspection. You will be denied access when you arrive at the concert and the scammer is long gone.

Payment: “Always use a credit card, so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised,” the BBB warns. “Debit cards, wire transfers, or cash transactions are money lost if the tickets are fraudulent.” Additionally, make sure you know the refund policy.

Fees: “Be very alert to high transaction fees on the final page of your purchase,” the BBB says. “Many low-rated ticket sellers collect all your information before indicating exorbitant fees at the end of the transaction.”

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