How to Avoid Online Ticket Scammers
Whether you're looking online for tickets to a March Madness basketball game, the Olympics, or any number of popular music shows whose tickets go on sale this month, you'll be in good company. By one estimate, online ticket sales are a $10 billion business. That's a lot of money changing hands, and not every customer ends up a happy one.
Many online ticket sellers are just folks posting ads on Craigslist or other exchange sites. While many of them are honest, plenty of them are not. Individual sellers aren't licensed, they're not affiliated with legitimate businesses, and the incidence of fraud among them is high. The two most common forms of online ticket scams are sales of counterfeit tickets and tickets that never get mailed after the buyer has paid for them.
Here's how you can avoid getting scammed:
1. Buy your tickets only from sites you've heard of and trust. If you find a great deal on a website with a name you don't recognize, do your research before buying. You might find a number of consumer complaints about them if you look.
2. Check the contact information. Before you buy, make sure there's a geographic address you can trace the company to, and make sure the phone number they provide is in working order. A nonworking phone is a big red flag to walk away and find a different seller.
3. See if they use secure forms. In the page where you're supposed to input your credit card number, the URL should read https://, indicating that it's secure. You can also look for a lock icon in your browser. No lock icon or a simple http:// in the address bar is another warning not to go any further.
4. Beware of last-minute deals. If you've been scouring the Internet for tickets to an event has been sold out for days, and suddenly a site pops up seemingly from nowhere purporting to give you exactly what you want for a low price—the chances are excellent that it's too good to be true.
Above all, make sure you're running your anti-virus program which can help you steer clear of ticket scammers by alerting you before you go on a site it classifies as suspicious. That way you can have your March Madness without taking crazy risks with your identity and computer's security.
Many thanks goes to Trend Micro for their online security updates, which I pass on to you guys. Stay Internet-safe!