RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, is warning fans seeking tickets to the NCAA tournament to watch out for scams such as phony tickets offered at prices that are too good to be true.
The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament gets underway this week, with six first-round games scheduled at PNC Arena in Raleigh Thursday through Saturday. The number one seeded University of North Carolina Tar Heels will tip off their first game of the tournament Thursday night in Raleigh. Duke University and the Universities of North Carolina at Asheville and Wilmington are also playing in the NCAA tournament.
“Scammers are experts at using the excitement of big events like March Madness to make a quick buck at your expense,” Cooper warned. “If you’re looking for tournament tickets, keep your guard up against scams.”
Cooper said that consumers should be skeptical of any NCAA ticket deal that claims to offer tickets at prices that seem too good to be true.
Face value for a single ticket to first round games starts around $50. However, resale values for some tickets have climbed to more than $450 each on popular online ticket vendors like StubHub and TicketsNow. Tickets get even more pricey during later rounds of the tournament. Some Final Four tickets have been listed for sale at $35,000 each and up.
“With the NCAA tournament there’s a high demand for a limited number of tickets, so if you’re offered tickets at an unbelievable price, it could be a scam,” Cooper warned.
To avoid ticket scams, Cooper suggests that North Carolina consumers:
- Avoid too-good-to-be-true prices. Tickets promised at a discount, face value or a little above may sound like a great deal. But be cautious about buying a ticket via social media, Craigslist and similar sites from someone you don’t know, especially if the price is far below the going rate.
- Research ticket sellers. Check out ticket vendors and resellers with the Better Business Bureau and search for consumer reviews online.
- Check ticket details. Before you pay for tickets, ask the seller for details like section, row and seat number. Check the information against the venue’s seating chart to ensure that the seats are legitimate.
- Be suspicious if asked to pay cash or by money order or wire transfer. Pay for tickets with a credit card when possible to improve your chances of getting your money back if there is a problem.
- Check refund policies. Read a ticket seller’s refund policy before you make a purchase. If you have questions about the policy, ask and get answers in writing.
This isn’t Cooper’s first time fighting ticket scams related to major sporting events. Back when the Carolina Hurricanes appeared in the 2002 Stanley Cup, Cooper’s office took action against scams and recovered more than 100 tickets.
If you spot a ticket scam, report it to the Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or by filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov.