BBB warns of March Madness ticket scams

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — March Madness is here — and the Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to be cautious when purchasing tickets online.

According to BBB, large sporting events allow scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting customers as they scour the internet looking for the best prices.

When buying tickets online, make sure to follow these important tips:

  • Use reliable sellers: Beware of fake ticket sellers. If you are unsure whether a seller is legitimate or not, check the company’s rating on If you are purchasing tickets from a broker, check to make sure they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers — members are required to follow a number of basic consumer protections.
  • Check your vendor’s guarantee policy: Many legitimate websites have guarantees and will replace or refund customers if a problem arises. Sites such as Craigslist have a “buyer beware” premise and do not offer guarantees.
  • Use secure websites for transactions: When buying tickets online, be on the lookout for a padlock on the page or the letter “s” in the URL after the “http.” These signs indicate a secure website — without them, your payment information might not be safe.
  • Read the fine print: Some events sell restricted paperless tickets, requiring the buyer to show up at the venue and present the purchasing credit card and photo ID. These policies make it difficult to transfer tickets. March Madness has an official ticket exchange for fans looking to offload tickets to other fans.
  • Pay with a credit card: Paying with a credit card is a secure way to make purchases online. Problems can arise when customers make wire transfers or other payments — customers often can not get their money back after the transaction is ordered.
  • Be prepared to pay additional fees: The ticket price listed is often not the final price so be prepared to pay additional fees upfront.

If you have been the victim of a ticket scam, call your local BBB at 508-652-4800.

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