How To Not Get Scammed Buying Tickets

As the weather begins to warm up, more and more tours and festivals ensue, and tickets begin to quickly sell out as we progress towards the event dates, fans are beginning to run into a common yet dangerous headache: Resale tickets. Here is How To Not Get Scammed Buying Tickets.

While there are plenty of resources out on the internet to find a ticket after an event has been sold out, there is also a variety of red flags or malicious and sketchy individuals out there waiting for you to find them. Preparing for the night with your friends, making the trip to the show or festival (sometimes taking hours to get there), and waiting in line to pass through security only to be told that your ticket doesn’t work is an absolute nightmare.

In order to minimize the likelihood of this situation, I’ve comprised a guide on safely securing your ticket to see your favorite artist.

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1) Use Paypal

PayPal offers awesome buyer protection when paying for “Goods or Services” that allows you to chargeback. If the worst case scenario of you actually getting a fake ticket happens, you can at least have a good chance at getting your money back. Using Venmo, Cash App, or most other common methods of payment lack this feature. In these exchanges, it is expected that you make the payment first, and even if the seller attempts to evade you after receiving your money, you can still do this chargeback!

There is a small 3% fee for sellers in this transaction, so if someone really insist that they don’t want to receive payment as “Goods or Services” because of this, you could even offer to cover that small fee.

If they insist that you pay as “family and friends”, don’t even bother. This means they don’t want you to have buyer protection, and you already know why.

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2) Get Their Information

If they are not willing to let you know who they are, this is probably the biggest red flag. The most common reason why someone wants to remain anonymous in a deal that is supposed to benefit both parties in the transaction is that they plan on doing something where they do not want to suffer consequences in the future. Like scamming you.

Ask for their Facebook and other social media profiles, and continue the conversation through the messaging features on those applications to prove it’s really them. If their account looks like it was created yesterday and has a handful of followers or posts, then chances are high that it’s not their real account.

You can even go as far as asking for a state ID or driver’s license. Although this is a bit taboo, it’s pretty dang safe to assume someone won’t want to scam you and proceed with the exchange if you know where they live.

To be courteous, you can also offer your information and provide social media platforms. You’re making a deal with a stranger after all, so it makes sense to build some trust.

3) Verify The Ticket

So you’ve got the seller’s information but they still seem a bit suspicious, what is your next step? Well, you can check to see if they even have a ticket after all.

It is possible to fake proof of a ticket purchase for tech-savvy people by methods of using Photoshop or “inspect element”, but it’s a bit of a headache for scammers if they really don’t have a ticket in the first place. You can ask for a screenshot of the email receipt that they received upon their original purchase.

This step is a bit uncommon for most exchanges because sometimes the email receipt contains information that can be used to change the ticket, such as the Order ID Number. You can simply suggest to the seller to draw over it or crop it out if need be. If you go to this length, it should be pretty clear to your seller that you’re a genuine buyer.

4) Ask For Vouchers

It most certainly helps if the seller is someone who has previously sold tickets before on the platform that you’ve found him/her. You can ask for a voucher to make a quick comment or message for you. A voucher would be anyone who has purchased a ticket from the seller. These are pretty easy to find if the seller frequents a certain website or page where you originally found him, like fan pages or Facebook groups.

Worth noting, you shouldn’t expected everyone to have a voucher all of the time. Sometimes people are actually selling a ticket for the first time, so we can’t hold people to this level of standard so strictly.

How To Not Get Scammed Buying Tickets

5) Find Sellers From Community Pages

I find it vastly easier to access information and tickets regarding an artist I want to see on pages that are dedicated to them, like Zeds Dead Family or EDM Chicago. The people in these groups truly support the music, and very often you’ll see they throw first dibs on resale tickets to other fans.

Another upside to making a transaction with an individual in these fan communities is that they’ve already accumulated a level of trust within in, meaning they aren’t going to want to scam you at the cost of being kicked out of the community after you call them out, and you’ll most likely find that they have vouchers that are quickly accessible in the same page.

6) Safe Transfer

Whether it’s a PDF or a physical ticket, you want to cover all of your bases. Although this doesn’t quite apply to everyone, it’s still smart to remember this when dealing with someone you might not trust.

If it’s a ticket that is due to arrive in the mail from the original buyer, such as a festival wristband, you can actually log in to the original buyer’s email and change the shipping address before the tickets/wristbands are shipped out so you can receive it directly and with ample time before the event! This removes the hassle of meeting in person to exchange it, and also gives you weeks before the event to see if the seller actually scammed you if the wristband/ticket hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, so you’ll have good time to chargeback for your money and find a new ticket.

So you’ve sent the payment, now it’s time to receive your ticket. In most cases, the seller simply sends a screenshot or PDF file of the E-Ticket, which is fine. You can actually ask the seller to forward you the full email containing the PDF to further validate it.

Some sellers won’t have an email to forward you, though. For example, scalpers (people who buy and sell tickets to make a profit) often stack up PDFs and screenshots of E-Tickets through a variety of methods, so sometimes they won’t have the ability to forward you an email that matches their name, because someone else may have made the purchase on a different card for them.

7) Ticket Selling Websites

Ticketmaster, StubHub, and EventBrite are among a handful of trustworthy sites that setup the transaction by allowing you to by resale tickets directly from them. The sites are secure and remove the hassle of a 3rd-party seller, but the fees that come with both buying and selling on these sites are pretty hefty. If you MUST SEE a popular artist despite the cost and you seriously can’t find tickets anywhere else, these options are your best bet.

Here’s some added suggestions from the community:


What other ways would you recommend to not get scammed buying tickets?

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Written by Dariel

Electric Hawk Radio Host and Founder, ZDF, DJ, and I miss my ex. Chicago.

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