How To Avoid Counterfeit Tickets

Looking for tickets but worried you’ll get stuck with fakes? Washington’s Attorney General has a few tips to make sure the tickets you buy are more than expensive wallet ornaments.

  • Buy direct from the venue, which can guarantee the ticket you purchase online will be valid to attend the event.
  • If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.
  • When buying from an individual through an online exchange don’t be lured away from the Web site by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange Web site, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.
  • Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to a seller. Instead, use a credit card or PayPal, which offer some protection and potential reimbursement.
  • Scrutinize photos of the tickets closely for any inaccuracies or alterations, and cross-check the seat assignment with the map on the venue’s Web site.

The advice holds true for any tickets. If you are buying in person, you can also paw the tickets to make sure they have the right feel, and ask the seller walk you to the entrance.

Beware of phony football tickets [All Consuming]
BBB Advises College Football Fans: Be Smart When Buying Bowl Tickets Online [BBB]
(Photo: veganstraightedge)


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    1: Tickets are made out of cracker
    2: There’s no team called the Spungos.

  2. TZNJoe says:

    “Buy direct from the venue.”

    Solid advice. Most big events have plenty of seats left at the box office.

  3. Tuffy says:


    That is all.

  4. TheTick says:

    “Hey, there’s no such thing as the 400 level at this arena!”

    Who the heck would counterfeit Cubs/Pirates anyway.

  5. Buran says:

    @Tuffy: Better advice:

    “Always fund Paypal purchases with a credit card, so if something goes wrong you can file a chargeback”.

  6. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @B: He told me those Spungo vs Fludge tickets were printed on crackers as an anti-counterfeit measuere.

    Damn that clever villan!

  7. Sndtrkman says:

    @TheTick: That’s the question I was going to ask, seriously who would want to counterfeit a Cub’s ticket in the first place? It just makes no sense whatsoever.

  8. ekthesy says:

    Back in the day, you could light a match, extinguish it, and hold the blackened tip to the back of a questionable ducat. If it left no trace, it was a real Ticketmaster ticket. If it left black residue that couldn’t be wiped away, it was a fake. I’ve used this method on a few occasions.

    Another ticket scam to watch out for: If there are a lot of scalpers selling tickets in a small area (i.e. you’re likely to visit a lot of them looking for the best price), make sure to take note of the seat locations. Many scalpers working as part of a “ring” will have all their tickets in the same section, as whoever produced the counterfeits likely didn’t figure to scatter the locations of the fake tickets around the stadium or arena.

    Furthermore, it goes without saying that the better the seat, the higher the likelihood that the ticket is fake, as no scalper will fake a 400-level seat when he could easily get double or triple the money for a 100-level seat.

    Anyone else heard of this?

  9. Walker Told Me I Have AIDS says:

    Another good rule of thumb:

    “Always contact Mike Tice. He gets the best seats, and he’s cheap too!”

    (Does anyone even remember that reference?)

  10. Walker Told Me I Have AIDS says:

    Another good rule of thumb here:

    ALWAYS contact Mike Tice first. He gets the best seats, and he’s pretty cheap as well!

  11. Toof_75_75 says:

    Cubs Vs. Pirates…Is it even worth counterfeiting? They probably pay you to show up at that game. Pirates tickets are easier to get than the hookers downtown. Cost less, too.

  12. drjayphd says:

    @Walker Told Me I Have AIDS: Not only do I remember it, but that’s what I tell anyone looking for Jags tickets…

  13. okiedoke says:

    Just got my Cubs vs. Led Zeppelin tics. Phew! Just checked, and thank gawd they weren’t printed on crackers. I’m a bit concerned, though, about the 400 level. Are we safe not bringing ear protection?

  14. boxoffboy says:

    From an employee of a well known ticketing company:
    1. The ticket will be thermal stock. Heat makes the ticket turn black. That is why if you leave your ticket on your car’s dashboard on a sunny day you will come back to a useless ticket.
    2. Tickets will have a blue lining in the middle of the ticket. Just tear it a little bit to see if it is there.
    3. The area around the ticket text (event name, venue, date, etc.) will have microprint.

    And that ticket pictured is definitly a counterfit. The Cubs are not a TM client. :)

  15. B says:

    @drjayphd: So, you told one person, then?

  16. chiieddy says:

    Ever try to get Red Sox tickets from the box office? Only potential way to get them (especially after a championship year but they always sell out anyhow) is to go and wait in line day of the game and pray you’re early enough to get some of the held tickets. To do this, many of us would have to take time off work.

    The box office thing wouldn’t have really worked for the recent Hannah Montana debacle either.

  17. morganlh85 says:

    Buy directly from the venue! HA! I got a good laugh from that one.

  18. coren says:

    Hey guys, don’t buy those tickets Consumerist is trying to sell. That event already happened, it’s a trick!