Better Business Bureau warns fans about March Madness ticket scams

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As college basketball fans prepare to pack into Fiserv Forum for March Madness action Friday in Milwaukee, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers not to get fouled online by ticket scams.

"It's easy to fall for a ticket scam," explained Lisa Schiller with the Better Business Bureau. "Consumers have to really be careful."

Ticket prices for the two sessions that will be held at Fiserv Forum range from over a hundred dollars in some sections to over a thousand in others. Schiller says that big events with high demand provide the perfect opportunity for scammers.

"We see this all the time," Schiller said. "Every year, especially when it's a hot ticket, our sports teams are doing very well and everybody wants to go, wants a ticket."

Anthony Deleon is visiting from Chicago with his nephew, Cameron Goosby. Both basketball fans, they plan to watch free practice at Fiserv Forum Thursday, and if they find a ticket in their price range, may try and take in a session of games Friday night. Still, they have their guard up when it comes to online ticket sales.

"You have to keep your eye out for that and make sure it's legit because you don't want to get to the door after giving the guy a couple hundred bucks and it's like, you know?" Deleon said. "Some of these guys are really, really good at counterfeiting."

The Better Business Bureau offered these tips for consumers when purchasing tickets online:

• Look for ticket resellers that protect buyers. Ticket resellers should have a consumer protection policy and/or be registered with the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Most major ticket resellers will typically provide a full refund if the ticket turns out to be a forgery. It’s a service that’s covered by charging a commission on the sale.

• Buying from a reseller that also sells primary tickets adds a layer of protection. For example, Live Nation or Ticketmaster will invalidate the original ticket and create an entirely new bar code for you to use. This ensures you are the only one in possession of the resale ticket.

• Review the policies before making a purchase. You should only buy tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction and how you will be refunded if the tickets are fake. Also, if the tickets are not available immediately, the reseller should disclose when the tickets will ship or be available for pick up.

• Buy tickets with a credit card. Using a credit card helps protect you if the tickets are not as promised. Watch out for resellers who ask for unusual payment methods, such as sending gift cards or wiring money. This is a red flag. Learn more about payment types and how to protect yourself.

Schiller says another good piece of advice is to use common sense when it comes to purchasing tickets.

"Watch out for resellers who ask for unusual payment methods, such as gift cards or wiring money. This is definitely a red flag," Schiller said. "If it sounds too good to be true, it is."

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