Playoff season is prime time for ticket scams

BALTIMORE - Ravens who want to see their favorites hit the grid iron are anxious to get tickets.  But if you're not careful, getting those prime game seats could land you in a scammer's trap.   

Tickets these days are a high tech thing. You can print them from your email and you have to use a scanner to get into your seat. But the technology doesn't mean scammers have been locked out of the game. Angie Barnett with the Better Business Bureau says, "We know that no matter how sophisticated these tickets can become, there's still an opportunity for someone to fool you."

Barnett sys you've got to be careful when you're putting out cash for the best seats in town. Her first piece of advice, "Yu want to avoid scalping tickets if at all possible because you don't know if they are authentic or if they have been used."

Scammers may use tickets to catch the first act or a couple plays of the Ravens game and then hit the street to sell them to you at a discount price. But even though you've paid, the barcode has already been used, so you'll be blocked out.

Barnett warns another place you could get burned is internet auction sites where tickets are tough to track. She explains, "You could get old tickets, tickets for events that have already passed. You might even buy tickets that are counterfeit."

So before you put out any money on the web, you should check the seller's rating. You need to ask specifics about where the seat is and double check the location on a map of the venue. And make sure you use a credit card so you can dispute the charge if you get duped.

But if you want to steer clear of scams altogether, you may be better off sticking to the big brand sellers like Ticketmaster or StubHub, even though you'll pay fees. Barnett says, "Most often, when you buy from a ticket broker, you know it's good." And a good seat that's legit is always better than a great one that turns out not to be in the ballpark.

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