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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 22, 2006

Guard against Internet ticket fraud

 •  U2 tickets a hot commodity online

By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer


Unsure about buying tickets from an Internet reseller?

Here are some things to do:

  • Use a credit card or some other secure payment system.

  • Buy from a licensed ticket broker.

  • Insist on getting tickets well before the event.

  • Avoid buying tickets with bar-codes for entry. These can be easily copied.

  • Check Web site policies for secure payment and protections from fraud.

  • Insist on actual tickets, not e-tickets.

    Source: Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

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    Online reselling of concert and event tickets is booming, though some buyers may wish they'd never logged on to the new ticketing-buying channel.

    Promoters, concert sites, ticket marketplaces and brokers all warn buyers to be cautious when purchasing tickets on the Internet. You run the risk of receiving bad or counterfeit tickets, or worse, not hearing from the sellers once they've got your money.

    "I've heard some horror stories about counterfeit tickets that people bought through a third-party," said Barbara Saito, general manager of Tom Moffatt Productions, the state's largest concert promotion company.

    "They're out cold hard cash for these tickets that don't mean anything to anybody," she said.

    Said Patrick Leonard, spokesman for the Aloha Stadium Authority, "Our recommendation is for consumers to be very leery of purchasing tickets from other than the bona-fide outlets."

    There are multiple ways that scam artists can cheat people, including sending them fake tickets. Scammers also can download and print out multiple times a ticket that's been legitimately bought online.

    A couple hundred people complained they'd bought fake tickets for U2's Boston concert last year from scalpers, most of whom were selling on the Internet, according to Rolling Stone magazine. That prompted Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly to issue a news release warning people about ticket fraud.

    His recommendations included never paying cash and checking Web site policies about fraud. For people who get a fake ticket, he recommended calling police.

    The potential for fraud casts a shadow over the burgeoning online reselling business, causing some brokers such as Friend lyTickets.com to restrict ticket purchases from promoters, bands, fan clubs and other legitimate ticket sellers.

    Counterfeiting is "a huge problem on big events," said David Cabrera, vice president of marketing at FriendlyTickets.com. He recommends buyers deal with reputable brokers and use credit cards so they can get refunds if needed.

    At StubHub.com, a Web marketplace where people and brokers come to list tickets, seller registration includes placing a credit card on file, said spokesman Sean Pate. That's because the site guarantees buyers will get valid tickets or a refund.

    Sellers who don't perform as expected find their credit card charged for the ticket, Pate said.

    Reach Greg Wiles at gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.