Current Scams To Be Aware Of

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

Larry Meiller finds out what scams are making the rounds, plus opportunities for innovators to help consumers protect themselves.

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  • Don’t Let Madness For Your Favorite Team Pull You Into A Ticket Trap

    As the Wisconsin Badgers advance in the NCAA March Madness tournament, many fans are hoping to see them play in person. But consumer protection experts warn that high-profile sporting events provide a prime opportunity for scammers.

    Michelle Reinen is director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She said that fans should temper their excitement enough to cast a critical eye at ticket offers.

    The first step for consumers to take is to look at the source of the tickets. Reinen said that the best and safest option is official sources such as the NCAA itself or well-known ticket resellers like StubHub, or through the school itself or its alumni association.

    Even when dealing with official outlets, Reinen cautioned that it is always good practice to make sure that the web site is secure.

    “There should be a visible padlock on the address bar and the URL should begin with https,” Reinen said. She added that using a credit card can also provide a measure of safety since fraudulent charges can be disputed.

    Many tickets will be sold privately, too, and it is those transactions that can lead to trouble. Reinen said that while it may not always be possible, the safest way to buy from a private party is to meet in person, preferably at a police station.

    “If it’s a scam, they’ll back out right away in that case. They’ll have plenty of reasons why that won’t work for them and they won’t sell you the ticket,” Reinen said.

    Just this week, in fact, Craigslist publicly encouraged users of the site to make exchanges at local police stations, and some police departments around the country are advertising themselves as “safe zones” for purchase exchanges.

    Even if it is possible to set up an in-person exchange, Reinen said that it still pays to be on guard.

    “Ask to see the tickets so you can make sure they’ve got all the proper logos and everything that it should have on it to know that it’s a legitimate ticket,” Reinen advised.

    General consumer protection advice also applies to event ticket purchases, Reinen said. For example, any requests to wire money in advance or to use a money pack card, which are pre-paid debit cards with an access code on them, should be treated with great skepticism. Instead, she recommended using a credit card or PayPal account to pay for the tickets.

    Reinen added that a quick web search can also provide important information about a potential seller, especially if the search includes the place where the tickets are offered for sale, like Craigslist or eBay, and the word scam.

    For those hoping to buy a ticket at the venue, Reinen warned that scalpers may be selling fake tickets and are counting on both the chaos and excitement of the day and the desperation of fans to mask the scam.

    Finally, Reinen offered age-old advice for those hoping to get to a tournament game.

    “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Reinen said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Sandy Chalmers Guest
  • Michelle Reinen Guest