(CLEVELAND)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned Cleveland fans to beware of ticket scams ahead of the World Series, which begins today in Cleveland, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home opener, which takes place the same day.
World Series ticket prices spiked after Cleveland eliminated Toronto in the American League Championship Series last week. Game 1 of the World Series will take place on Tuesday, the same day the Cavs open their season at home celebrating their NBA championship.
Some social media wags have called today “Christmas in Cleveland.”
“This is a very exciting time for Cleveland,” Attorney General DeWine said. “It’s also the kind of environment that’s ripe for scams, unfortunately. We just want Cleveland fans to be able to enjoy every moment of this, without getting ripped off.”
Earlier in October, one Ohio consumer reported losing $280 trying to buy Cleveland Indians tickets on Craigslist. The consumer said he communicated with the seller and wired money to buy two tickets, but the offer turned out to be a scam.
Ticket scams often involve third-party individual sellers who are not associated with an event. The scammers may advertise on Craigslist, on other websites, or in person. After consumers pay for the tickets, they receive either nothing at all or tickets that are counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise invalid.
Scam artists generally instruct consumers to pay using wire transfer, cash, prepaid money cards, or other forms of payment that are difficult to trace. Once the payment is transferred from the consumer to the “seller,” the money generally cannot be recovered.
To avoid ticket scams, consumers should take steps to protect themselves, such as:
- Buy from reputable sellers. Deal with reputable businesses instead of third-party individuals who are not associated with an event. Before providing any payment or personal information, research a seller’s reputation. Check the return policy, and find out what would happen if the event is cancelled. If you’re trying to buy tickets from an individual, be especially cautious. Conduct an online search using the seller’s name, username, email address, or phone number along with words like “reviews,” “scam,” “fake tickets,” or “counterfeit tickets.” Even if you find no complaints, don’t assume the seller is reputable. Some con artists use fake names or bogus contact information.
- Check the venue’s ticket policies. Find out how tickets are being sold and what kind of tickets will be accepted at the event. Increasingly, a number of venues and events primarily use electronic tickets. However, if you’re trying to buy a paper ticket, take steps to make sure it’s real. Inspect both sides of the ticket, and be aware that some ticket scammers create counterfeit tickets that look legitimate even though they are not.
- Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other sites may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but the offers may be scams. Some scammers also provide phony explanations for why they need to sell tickets quickly for a good price. For example, they may falsely claim to have a family emergency or to be in the military and unable to use the tickets.
- Consider paying with a credit card, if possible. If a problem arises, you generally have a greater ability to dispute credit card charges versus other forms of payment. Be skeptical of sellers who say you must pay via wire transfer, prepaid money card, or gift card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once payment is provided, it is very difficult to recover.
- Report suspected scams. If you think you’ve sent money to a scam artist, immediately contact the payment system you used. For example if you wired the money, contact the wire-transfer company. (In rare cases, payment can be stopped before it’s picked up in a scam.) Also flag suspicious posts online. Suspicious Craigslist ads can be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office directly from Craigslist.
For more information or to report a scam, consumers should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at [www.OhioProtects.org]www.OhioProtects.org or by calling 800-282-0515.