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Money Matters: Avoid foul play during March Madness

Mechele Mills, President/CEO
BBB Serving Central East Texas

March Madness begins March 14 and many East Texas basketball fans may be looking to grab those highly-sought-after tickets.

When scouting for discount tickets to a big sporting event many consumers turn to the secondary ticket resale market, which includes online ticket exchanges and professional resellers (or brokers). Purchasing tickets from the secondary market can be a great deal but, unfortunately, ticket fraud is all too common.
“You’re taking a risk when purchasing from someone you do not know, or if a deal sounds too good to be true”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “Not only could you lose money, you could miss out on a great event.”
Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid fraudulent ticket purchasing:

Purchase from the venue. Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many now offer secondary sales options, as well.
Consider your source. Know the difference between a professional ticket broker (an accredited reseller), a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller), and a scammer selling fraudulent tickets.
Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on bbb.org for their Business Profile. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets. Look up the seller on VerifiedTicketSource.com to confirm you are buying from an NATB-member resale company.
Buy only from trusted vendors. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don’t click through from emails or online ads; a common scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company.
Know the refund policy. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Sellers should disclose to the purchaser, prior to purchase, the location of the seats represented by the tickets, either orally or by reference to a seating chart; and, if the tickets are not available for immediate access to the purchaser, disclose when the tickets will ship or be available for pick up.
Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfer or cash transactions are risky; if the tickets are fraudulent, you won’t be able to get your money back.
Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment; some of these ads are going to be scams, especially if the prices are low.
If you’re unsure, verify your tickets. Pay a visit to the arena where the event will be held. Present your ticket to “Will Call” (customer service) and they can verify if your ticket is legitimate.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: 903-581-8373 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.
NOTE: The National Association of Ticket Brokers is a BBB National Partner.

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