The secondary ticket market is a multi-billion dollar industry and a haven for counterfeiters and thieves. A secondary market includes any seller or broker who isn't authorized or doesn't have the authority to issue the ticket.
Consumers need to be aware when purchasing expensive or hard-to-find sports, concert or other event tickets online from newspaper ads such as Craig's list or from scalpers. Since it is common for concert and sporting event tickets to be very scarce, the only way that an average fan can get tickets is in the secondary market. This is perfect for counterfeiters and thieves who rely on buyers desperation and greed.
You can purchase tickets online, but they may not show up or you will find they are counterfeit when you present them at an event. It is very common to receive authentic looking tickets, only to be denied entry to the event. You are out your money and the event.
You can meet a seller from a newspaper ad in person and be shown authentic looking tickets only to find out at the event they are counterfeit.
You can buy from a scalper at the event, but the same problem exists -- they may be counterfeit. If you choose to do so, have the scalper accompany you to the gate for payment when the tickets are authenticated.
Never pay with cash. Always pay with a credit card or through PayPal when you can't verify the authenticity immediately. You will have some protection and potential reimbursement. Never pay with a cashier's check or wire money to a seller; you'll have no way to get your money back if the tickets are fake or don't arrive.
Buying tickets from a stranger is no different than buying anything else of value from someone you don't know and will never meet or see again. Use common sense, understand the risks, and use these tips to minimize your potential loss if you choose to purchase tickets from an unauthorized seller, newspaper ad or website.
You can't determine an authentic event ticket from its visual appearance. You may arrive at an event only to be turned away holding counterfeit tickets.
Did you detect the different face value amounts on this ticket?
Can you tell which of these Ohio State tickets is a counterfeit?
While the fonts used are distinctly different, determining which is authentic is difficult without an authentic item to compare to.
These counterfeit Superbowl 2013 tickets were sold to unsuspecting buyers before the seller was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The victims discovered the tickets were counterfeit when they were denied entry. (photo ICE)