AG Cooper: Watch out for NCAA tournament scams

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Attorney General Roy Cooper is telling NCAA tournament fans to be on alert for ticket scams like fake tickets offered at prices that are too good to be true.

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament starts this week, with six first round games scheduled at PNC Arena in Raleigh Thursday through Saturday.

The East region’s top seed, UNC, tips off their first game Thursday night in Raleigh. Duke, UNC-Asheville and UNC-Wilmington are also playing in the tournament.

“Scammers are experts at using the excitement of big events like March Madness to make a quick buck at your expense,” Cooper warned in a press release. “If you’re looking for tournament tickets, keep your guard up against scams.”

Consumers should be skeptical of any NCAA ticket deal that claims to offer tickets at prices that seem too good to be true, the attorney general said.

According to the attorney general’s office, single tickets to first round games have a face that starts at about $50, but tickets re-sold online have reached as high as $450 each on websites like TicketsNow and StubHub. Final Four tickets are even more expensive – some are selling for $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 said.

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.

If you see 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.

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