The Better Business Bureau has a message for college basketball fans hoping to see the Final Four games live in Indianapolis this weekend: Be wary of NCAA ticket scams on Craigslist.
The organization’s warning comes as a North Carolina woman in Stokes County lost $1,480 trying to purchase two tickets from an individual claiming to be a Wisconsin surgeon on the online marketplace. The woman was directed to pay through a site called Purchase Tickets Safely, which listed a partial address and was created last week.
The woman unknowingly wired the money to a scammer in Pakistan and won’t get any of it back, since Craigslist doesn’t protect against scams (The website also lists a slew of warnings about scams and how to recognize them.).
Tom Bartholomy, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, recommends instead going through a “trusted site” like StubHub or Razorgator, both which essentially act as brokers.
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“When you’re buying from those sites, you have that security and the confidence that you’re buying a legitimate ticket. You are guaranteed to get your money back if it’s a scam,” Bartholomy said.
If using Craigslist, Bartholomy recommends meeting the seller face to face in a secure place like a police department parking lot.
Bartholomy said Craigslist scams are common during big events like the Final Four when people are looking for the cheapest tickets. He said the bureau received a few calls about ticket scams during the first NCAA tournament games in Charlotte.
“Whenever demand is high and supply is low, scammers are going to try to take advantage of it,” Bartholomy said.
Both Final Four games are on Saturday night. Duke plays Michigan State at 6:09 p.m., and Kentucky and Wisconsin play at 8:49 p.m.