March Madness opens door for ticket scammers

PITTSBURGH — March Madness is here and, unfortunately, so are ticket scammers, who continue to work harder than ever to leave traveling basketball fans high and dry.

“Scammers like sporting events, they like concerts”, says Daniel Diaz from USAA. “There’s a lot of money changing hands right up until the event itself.”

Because opening round games are announced with just a few days’ notice and the rounds fly by quickly, it leaves fans more dependent on non-official avenues where buyers are less protected.

“Scammers like a sense of urgency, they want you to not think about it”, said Diaz. “They want you to buy quickly and by the time you realize you’re ticket is bad, your money is gone.”

To avoid ticket scams, experts say you should use protected payment methods like a credit card.

When you pay in cash, Zelle, or via wire transfer, that money can be difficult to recover.

Also look for a refund policy.

Be wary on any ticket listings that don’t offer clear details about the terms of the transaction.

Buying off Facebook? Take a second look.

Check their profile and see how recently their account was made.

If it was made in the last month, most likely, they are a scammer.

“Ask the seller if there’s a way they can verify the ticket itself”, said Diaz. “Typically, they can give you a specific seat or row location. That’s helpful. If they can meet ahead of time, even better.”

Experts say the best thing to do is buy direct from the source.

If those tickets are gone, established resellers, such as Vivid Seats, Stubhub, and Seatgeek can be good options.

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