What can you do to protect yourself from concert ticket scammers?

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Music City attracts a lot of concerts, and unfortunately that means opportunities for people to try to take your money.

When your favorite artist is playing in Nashville, you may look for cheaper tickets online, but keep in mind, sometimes that “deal” is too good to be true.

Nashville resident Josh Inman ran into that problem.

“Immediately after payment, she started acting, I’ll say, flaky. It was like, ‘Oh wait a minute. It’s going to take too long to get my money, I don’t know if I can sell these tickets to you;’ It’s like, you already have my money,” said Inman.

Inman wanted to buy his daughter tickets to the Adele concert last year for her birthday. He found two affordable tickets on Craigslist, but he never got what he paid for.

“I let my guard down because I really wanted to get the tickets,” Inman told News 2.

Josh Inman wanted to buy his daughter tickets to Adele’s Nashville show last fall. (Photo: WKRN)

Inman got his money back because he used his credit card, and went through a reputable website for an extra layer of protection. But it doesn’t always happen that way, and there are a number of other victims.

Metro police made more than 315 charges against suspects for criminal simulation between 2015 and May 2017. Ticket scams are included under that umbrella.

Sergeant Michael Warren is part of the Metro Fraud Unit. He said many times these scammers aren’t from our area, and are part of a much larger operation.

“They don’t come down here and target events that aren’t sold out. They’re traveling to cities that they know tickets are like finding a needle in a haystack,” explained Sergeant Warren.

Shows like Adele, Taylor Swift and even the annual CMA Fest are often hot ticket items.

Sergeant Warren said, “Adele tickets are not going to go for face value. Taylor Swift tickets aren’t going to go for face value. If there’s a high demand for these events, they’re not going to sell them for what they paid for them… The whole reason they’re selling them is to make a profit.”

It’s not easy to tell if a ticket is fake, but there are some things you can pay attention to.

For example, Ticketmaster uses a certain font on authentic tickets. Before you buy, make sure that the font is the same on the entire ticket, and check for spelling errors.

Also look for a comma in the date. If you see one on a ticket that’s supposed to be from Ticketmaster, it’s fake.

Also be sure to check a seating chart to make sure your seats actually exist.

You should also turn tickets over to make sure they’re printed on both sides. Also look at the barcodes too. If any of them match, only one ticket is the real deal; the others are duplicates.

“The original ticket is legitimate and whoever gets to that gate first is going to get entry. It’s the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth tickets that get denied,” said Sergeant Warren.

Sergeant Warren says you could become a victim just by posting a picture of your ticket on social media to show how excited you are about a show.

“You’ve just given bad guys your ticket to fabricate, so you better get there before the bad guy gets there or you’re not getting in,” he said.

Police say it’s legal for scalpers to sell tickets outside an event if they have a permit, but before you buy any, ask them to walk with you to the ticket counter to scan them.

If you find out your tickets are fake, call and file a police report immediately.

“The difficult part in prosecuting these is a lot of people report these after the event’s over, and the bad guys, they get out of town,” said Sergeant Warren.

He also said it’s important to remember that you have the money, so you’re in charge of the transaction, and if you suspect anything’s fishy before you buy, walk away.

You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission and the Tennessee Department of Commerce.

“If we can find enough complaints against someone who is violating the Consumer Protection Act, we’ll take that information and we’ll take it up the hill to the Attorney General’s office and give them that and they go forward with any kind of litigation,” said Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce.

Walters told News 2 the more complaints they get about someone, the better the chance for prosecution.

Metro police say they keep track of large events, and usually have undercover officers there to watch for scammers.

They say if you’re buying tickets from a third party, it’s best to make transactions in a public place, near security cameras.

The more footage they can get of scammers, the better the chance of identifying them.

They also say if you choose to print your tickets instead of getting them at will call, it makes it even easier for scammers to duplicate them.