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Avoid striking out with fake MLB tickets

Baseball season is officially in full swing. For Texas Rangers fans planning on attending a ballgame this spring, take preventions to avoid ticket scams.

There are currently thousands of game day tickets listed on classifieds websites, which seems great to those making a last-minute decision to see a ball game. However, these sites offer no guarantees and don’t require identification from sellers. Caution is also extended to those purchasing tickets from a scalper.

If game day tickets are purchased online, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends purchasing from a trustworthy seller or directly from the online box office. Some websites offer buyer protections and money-back guarantees.

In 2016, BBB received nearly 3,000 complaints against event ticket sales and ticket brokers nationwide, almost 1,000 more complaints than the previous year. Complainants allege they paid for invalid tickets or paid in advance for tickets that never arrived. Legitimate ticket brokers should be happy to answer questions, send a receipt, and verify business information.

Follow these tips to safely purchase baseball tickets:

Do your research. When purchasing tickets through an online broker, check out their BBB Business Profile at bbb.org for details about the company, history of complaints, and customer reviews. Also check to see if that broker is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, an organization that works with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams, and other organizations to fight against counterfeit tickets.

Verify the tickets are real. Search for guidance online about how the tickets should look and compare them to the ones you want to buy. Also, compare the price of the tickets to the price of others being sold. Scammers will often list tickets at a very low price to lure victims. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Check the ticket broker’s refund policy. Research the ticket broker’s refund policy before purchasing, and make sure it provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Assess the company’s policy for customer satisfaction and details on reimbursement for canceled events.

Watch for hidden fees. Some websites include service charges and additional shipping fees. While these charges should be identified on the website and disclosed to you before the transaction is finalized, read the fine print to make sure you know the total cost that will be billed to your account.

Pay with a credit card. Always use a credit card as additional protection. Never wire money to someone you don’t know; money sent via wire transfer is extremely difficult to retrieve. Once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse, if any, for getting your money back.

Additionally, BBB advises you to watch out for these red flags:

The ticket seller prefers to communicate via email. If the seller doesn’t provide a physical address or phone number as another option to communicate, that’s a red flag. With email, there’s no way to tell where the person is emailing from or who the person is. Ask questions.

The ticket seller can’t provide additional photos or information. Request more photos of the property, or ask to be given a virtual tour via webcam. Ask for specific details about the package or tickets you are purchasing. Legitimate owners and sellers will be happy to oblige.

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