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How to avoid digital ticket scams

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Tickets are the juice that keeps the Las Vegas entertainment and sports event industry working.

Paper tickets long ago left the stage in favor of electronic tickets and apps. But the digital world brings a new set of risks for buyers.

Some important rules to follow when buying tickets, according to USAA:

1. Verify the ticket seller

Use websites such as VerifiedTicketSource.com to verify the person/organization is a registered ticket reseller.

“Know your seller,” says Jeff Wolfe, vice president of fraud for USAA. “I would not deal with somebody you don’t know. Go with the reputable sellers. They have a brand and reputation to protect.”

Such advice rules out all sellers outside of the major players, Ticketmaster, StubHub, etc.

2. Payment methods

Always use protected payment methods. That means no paying with cash, debit card or wire transfer. The various money apps such as Zelle, PayPal, CashApp and Debut and many others offer little to no protection. When money leaves your app, it’s almost always gone.

Never send funds as Friends and Family on PayPal. Always send as Goods and Services. You have a better chance at disputing a purchase gone wrong as it is covered under PayPal purchase protection.

Wolfe advises it is best to know all the detailed rules of any payment method.

3. Beware of phishing scams

Phishing scams via text or email can be convincing, using official-looking Ticketmaster or StubHub logos and return email addresses. Be sure to hover the cursor over any links or logos without clicking to see the website address. By checking every character in the email address you’ll frequently see the address is not legitimate in a phishing email. Clicking on logos or links in the email could add malicious software to your device and allow the scammer to track your online activity.

4. Buying off Facebook? Take a second look

Check the seller’s profile and see how recently their account was made. If it was made in the last month, most likely, they are a scammer. If they have very few posts, this is also a red flag. Check how old the posts are posts.

5. Seller outside the gate? Not worth the headache

Often, there will be people selling digital tickets outside concert gates, but there is no way to verify their legitimacy. They might tell you a screenshot of a ticket is good for admission, but that’s nearly always incorrect. Venues typically require electronic tickets in your app so they can verify the bar code, says USAA spokesman Roger Wildermuth.

6. Too good to be true

If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Take time and do your research. Scammers use a sense of urgency to lure you into fraudulent deals.

If you have been scammed

Report the fraud to your bank immediately and add to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter.

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