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Watch out for Ravens tickets scammers, BBB says

Watch out, Baltimore Ravens fans. High demand for tickets for Sunday's playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts will likely bring out scammers, the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland warned today.

"Fans in a frenzy for last-minute tickets should carefully assess the legitimacy of ticket sales," said Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the bureau.

Consumers should be careful about buying from anonymous people or agents or entities that can't be verified, the BBB said.

Buyers should never wire money for tickets purchased through private dealers on websites such as Craigslist and eBay, the BBB said. Typically, buyers who wire money never see the tickets or get a counterfeit version.

Buying from a scalper might not be any safer, the BBB said. Commercial ticket sellers need to be licensed by the Maryland Stadium Authority to sell or resell a ticket on stadium property. Individuals also are not permitted to "scalp" a ticket for more than its face value in Baltimore.

Here are some more tips from the BBB announcement:

- Be wary of buying from someone on the street. You may wind up at the gate with fake tickets.

- When buying tickets online, verify the seller's legitimacy. Search for the company or website on www.bbb.org. Is the seller BBB Accredited, what is their BBB Rating and does it respond to complaints? If you see the BBB Accredited Business logo on a website, be sure it is legitimate and links to their BBB Business Review.

- Always use a credit card or PayPal, so that charges can be disputed. Never pay the seller by wire transfer. Ask for a picture of the ticket, verify it using the venue's seating chart, and get a receipt.

- Make sure the payment processing page is secure, denoted by an “https://” at the beginning of the URL.

- When buying tickets through an auction site, choose a trusted seller with recent, positive reviews. Never go along with a seller who wants to take the transaction off the site -- you'll lose any protections the site may offer with a private transaction.

- If you are buying through an online classified site, do not wire money. There is no way to retrieve your money if the tickets do not arrive or are counterfeit.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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