Watch Out for Super Bowl Scams

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With the Super Bowl just around the corner, both Giants fans and Patriots fans are looking for some way to enjoy the event and support their teams.  Unfortunately, as with most major events there are scammers lying in wait to take advantage of football fans wanting to catch the big game.

Whether you're buying last-minute tickets to the big game or just picking up a new jersey to wear while watching the game at home with friends, the Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups caution you to watch out for Super Bowl scams and be careful with the purchases you make.

Counterfeit Super Bowl tickets may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but if you don't know that they're fake then they might seem like a good deal compared to the prices you'll find at  Unfortunately, after spending all of that money you'll end up with tickets that aren't worth the paper they're printed on.  Genuine Super Bowl tickets have holograms on the back that show one of two images depending on the angle they're viewed from, and the image on the front of the ticket is heat-sensitive and will temporarily fade away if a heat source is applied.  Any ticket without these security features is a flat-out forgery.

You should also check a seating chart for Lucas Oil Stadium before making a purchase to make sure that the seats match up with the seller's claims.  Even genuine tickets can be misrepresented, with the seller telling you that you'll have a great view of the 50 yard line when you actually are in the upper tier or have a major obstruction blocking your view.  If the tickets are fake then they might even claim to be for seat numbers that don't exist.  The official seating charts for Lucas Oil Stadium can be found here.

Even if you're not attending in person you should use caution when making Super Bowl-related purchases.  Knock-off items can cost you almost as much as the real thing while giving you shoddy workmanship with poor-quality materials.  Most football fans want something that will let them remember when their team made it to the Super Bowl for years to come, while knock-off merchandise might be lucky to make it through the game.  Check the quality of the item, shop around to see how the price compares to other items of the same type and look for official NFL tags if you're not sure whether the jersey, beer cozy or other keepsake is the real deal.

Nationally, the Better Business Bureau received 1,957 complaints against ticket sellers in 2011. Most complaints allege tickets were misrepresented, not delivered within the estimated time-frame or consumers never received their tickets at all. 

The Better Business Bureau suggests you follow these tips when looking for a Super Bowl XLVI game ticket:

  • Take the time to properly research and compare tickets, use only a trustworthy supplier or reseller.

  • Ticket brokers should provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction. For instance, whether the tickets are guaranteed; how they will be sent to you and the timeframe for delivery; and the broker's refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies. Ask about surcharges.

  • Do not buy tickets from Internet sites that are not secure or lack a privacy policy; fail to disclose their refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies; do not provide a telephone number and fixed place of business; or insist on cash payment.

  • Verify the location of the seats on a seating chart to avoid being misled into purchasing obstructed view seats or seats that do not exist.

  • Pay with a credit card or third party payment processors, such as PayPal, which offers additional protection and allows you to track your purchase. When entering credit card info make sure the website url indicates it is secure (https://)

If considering a travel package, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) offers several guidelines on their site to help consumers minimize risks when booking tours and special events.

Only buy tickets from legitimate, licensed resellers, and to be wary of ads posted on sites such as Craigslist or eBay. As always, be extremely skeptical about any email, text, postcard or phone call soliciting info or claiming you've been selected to receive a fabulous vacation.

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