Ensure Those Tickets to Your Favorite Events Are Legit

How you can protect yourself and your finances from dishonest ticket-selling practices.

By Navy Federal June 22, 2017

This may sound familiar: Your favorite band or team is coming to town, you try to buy tickets—and they’re all gone. But if you’re a die-hard fan, you probably don’t give up. Instead, you might try secondhand online marketplaces or a ticket reseller outside the venue.

However, as with any industry worth an estimated $8 billion (as is the case with ticket resale), there’s a small risk of encountering a less-than-honest dealer. Here are six tips to help ensure the ticket you’re buying is the real deal:

  1. Buy from online retailers who insure your tickets. Nowadays, if you’re buying from a major company in the secondary ticket marketplace, your tickets will be insured. You may have to pay more in fees, but at least you’ll rest assured that you won’t lose money on fake tickets. You can find out if tickets are insured by seeing if the seller has a section on their site promising 100 percent protection or “verified tickets.” Cross reference the site with the Better Business Bureau to be sure it honors its policy.
  2. Pay with a transaction method that has protections. Paying for your tickets with cash, check or a money wire means you can’t get a refund if the tickets turn out to be fake. Using a credit card or an online payment service such as Visa® Checkout or MasterPass may provide you with an opportunity to dispute the purchase if you don’t receive the item that was promised.
  3. Look for errors or inconsistencies. When many of us get our tickets, we confirm the date, time and seat location, but what we don’t often notice is the fine print, bar code or venue details. If any of that is missing or seems suspect—it probably is. Although, a legitimate appearance doesn’t guarantee authenticity. Scammers can duplicate bar codes and other elements from genuine tickets. Look for low-quality paper, smudged printing and even scissor marks to help determine if a physical ticket is fake.
  4. Take precautions when buying outside an event. If local laws allow ticket reselling outside the venue, and you do end up taking the riskier route of buying from an individual directly, you can still take actions to protect yourself:
    • Have the seller walk you to the venue entrance—if they hesitate, walk away.
    • If you’re buying multiple tickets, check that the seat number isn’t duplicated across several tickets.
  5. Ask those you know for tickets. If it’s a hot event, there’s a chance someone you know may have a ticket they’re willing to sell. You can always ask family and friends if they have an extra seat weeks or months out, but it’s usually in the week or so before the event people realize they have conflicts and can no longer attend.
  6. Use common sense. If a ticket price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Tickets get expensive because there’s enough demand to drive up the price. Legitimate sellers probably aren’t going to sell tickets below the going price when there are buyers willing to pay more. If you do decide to buy from an individual, you can take extra precaution and ask him or her to provide an invoice from the original ticket purchase.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a good start. If you want to learn more about how you can protect yourself financially, visit Navy Federal Credit Union’s our security center.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.