California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ office issued a warning to residents trying to get tickets to Super Bowl 50, which will take place on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara. Because demand for the championship game between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers far exceeds the supply, shucksters will undoubtedly try to take advantage of people by selling fake or stolen tickets.
Here’s what you should keep in mind so your dreams aren’t dashed on the big day (and you aren’t suddenly on the hook for that hotel and airfare you bought):
• Try to buy your tickets from official sources like NFL.com or other ticket providers who are authorized to sell tickets, like licensed ticket resellers.
• Use credit cards or a PayPal account when buying tickets online, so you can challenge the charge if the ticket sale is fraudulent. Watch out for sellers who ask for payment via a prepaid card or by wiring money. Only use sites that begin with “https” as that means the site is secure and your credit card and billing information will be protected from being intercepted by a third party.
• Do your research, and check out the seller’s reputation by searching online for reviews, and look for any potential consumer complaints regarding prior scams. “I GOT FAKE TICKETS FROM X!!!” is a telltale sign that you should not be buying from that seller.
• When buying from a reseller, look into their refund policy and whether the reseller offers a guarantee regarding the authenticity and timely arrival of the tickets. Again, you don’t want to be left on the wrong side of the stadium doors on Super Bowl Sunday because your ticket never showed up.
• Watch out for below market value tickets — if it looks like the price is too good to be true, it probably is. The average ticket price for this year’s game right now is about $5,217, according to ticket price tracking site SeatGeek. The lowest price right now on that site is $3,254.
• Make sure all event information is correct, once the ticket has arrived, and keep an eye out for oddities like illegible text, uneven margins, or weird smudges — fake tickets often have the wrong information on them and may include a photocopied barcode.
• Don’t give your credit card information to a stranger based on an online classified ad. Otherwise you’ll be paying much more for that ticket than you intended. Meet sellers in a safe location like a police station if you’re paying them in person.