State warns football fans to watch out for counterfeit UT tickets

(Courtesy: WATE)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The state of Tennessee is warning people as football season picks up to be wary when purchasing tickets.

The state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance says fake tickets could be changing hands at home and away Vols games. The University of Tennessee adds there’s virtually no way for buyers to tell if a ticket is fake or real.

Purchasing a ticket from a secondary market or someone you don’t know may sound like a great deal, but ticket fraud is common.

“So if you wait maybe 20 minutes before the game starts, you can come out here, go to the strip on Cumberland, and just talk to anybody,” said junior Emily Groves.

Groves says she’s never been sold fake tickets before, “I think I’m so lucky because I’ve heard horror stories.”

So far for the 2017 season, the University of Tennessee has not encountered any fake or counterfeit tickets.

“But I’m sure when we play Georgia or LSU, they’ll come out of the woodwork,” said Associate Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Joe Arnone.

The state and UT suggest if you don’t know the person selling tickets, don’t buy them. Ticket fraud has to do with the bar code, which you should never show on social media. Arnone says posting a picture of the bar code is the perfect way for a scammer to steal a seat and resell the ticket.

“Every ticket has the potential to be a fake or counterfeit ticket because you might have a legitimate ticket. But the season ticket holder calls in that their ticket was lost or stolen, we would reprint that ticket for the season ticket holder and that would invalidate the bar code for the original ticket,” explained Arnone.

To avoid getting ripped off:

  • Whenever possible, use the official ticket sales agent for the venue. Many now offer secondary sales options as well.
  • Ask the seller to walk with you to the venue entrance before buying. If they hesitate or refuse, don’t purchase the tickets.
  • Ask the seller for photo identification and make a note of his/her name and date of birth.
  • Make sure all necessary bar codes are on the tickets and serial numbers aren’t repeated from ticket to ticket.
  • Be cautious when buying PDF print out tickets. These could have been printed multiple times and only the first person to have that ticket scanned at the gate will get in.
  • Know what ticket format the venue uses. Digital tickets may not be supported at every venue.
  • Check the ticket to make sure all information, such as the date, event location, and face value, is correct.
  • If you’re looking to buy re-sale tickets online, make sure you’re buying from a company that offers verified tickets, a money back guarantee, or a comparable seat promise.
  • Know the refund policy. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
  • Buy online only from vendors you know and trust. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don’t click through from emails or online ads; a common scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company.
  • Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised.
  • Avoid purchasing tickets from someone you don’t know asking you to wire money.
  • Get the specifics on tickets, which include shipping terms and availability dates. For example, if the reseller has tickets in-hand or if they are speculative tickets. Speculative or “spec” ticket postings are when resellers advertise tickets they don’t actually have. If an event has not gone on sale yet to the general public, but seats are already being sold, that is a good indication that they are “spec “tickets. They do this so they have the greatest flexibility to find tickets to deliver to the buyer.
  • Cover the code! Do not take photos of your ticket stubs and post them on social media sites. This is the perfect way for nefarious brokers to rip off these tickets.