FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
December 11, 2018

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Fake Ticket Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: Building a digital defense against fake ticket scams.

If you are like me, you don’t want to give your kids (or husbands or parents) any more stuff. Sure all those presents look good under the Christmas tree, but enough is enough. I’m tired of cleaning the clutter out of the closets in my home and finding treasured gifts that I paid good money for still in the plastic wrap.

A better alternative always seems to be to give them “experiences,” right? Memories that will last a lifetime and earn me some good Mom or wife points down the road. These kinds of gifts can be spectacular—and spendy. Your goal this holiday shopping season is to find a good deal while still making sure that you don’t get taken. Nothing will ruin the “experience” of your “experience gift” more than showing up at a venue and finding out that your tickets are bogus. Concerts, professional sporting events, and special events are all vulnerable to this scam.

Here are some tips to keep your ticket purchases on the up-and-up:

  • Pay with a credit card, not a debit card. This gives you a little more leverage to dispute the charge if something goes wrong.
  • Make sure the website is secure. Always look for the lock symbol and an “s” at the end of the “http” portion of the site’s URL.
  • Be wary if the site doesn’t have contact information for customer issues.
  • Likewise, watch out if the seller requires you use a wire transfer or gift card to pay for your purchase. This is a huge red flag.
  • Don’t buy from scalpers.
  • Popular online marketplaces often have legit tickets mixed in with frauds. Know that the risk of losing your money is high.
  • When searching for tickets online, don’t just choose the result at the top of your search list. Confirm that you know which company you are buying from and don’t just assume it is one of the more well-known options.
  • Don’t click on links or attachments in social media posts, emails, or texts.

If you want to stay low-risk, consider using one of the re-sale platforms run by the major ticket vendors. You will pay that company’s ticket fee, but at least these bigger companies will guarantee that your re-sale ticket is legitimate.

If you have been victimized by this or any cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.