Beware of Olympic and Concert Ticket Scams

Tickets scams are an effective way for enterprising crooks to separate entertainment-seekers from their money. Some ticket scams are outright swindles, where victims hand over money for a fake ticket or no ticket at all; other times, sellers walk a very fine line between actual thievery and legitimate (if unscrupulous) business practice by charging outrageous markups on real tickets.

With almost 200 Olympic crime-related arrests in the United Kingdom and one woman alone in the United States losing $200,000 to Olympic scammers, the 2012 Olympics may be the most scammed sporting event in history. Several fake Olympic ticket web sites have already been identified, but there are surely more fake sites offering special deals on tickets for almost every popular summer event.

Trend Micro researchers identified an Olympic ticket scam that included a spammed message alleging to be a lottery drawn by the London 2012 Olympics committee. By submitting personal information to enter fake lottery, you could risk having your identity stolen.

Scarcity's the name of the game here. This summer, people will be clamoring for tickets to the Olympics or to big concerts with major artists like Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen or Justin Bieber. All of these events will sell out, or come close to it. So what do you do if you're dying for tickets to a sold-out event?

If possible, go through official sellers first. If you were looking for Olympics tickets, for example, the best place to go would have been the official London 2012 site (or the Team USA site for the limited number of tickets available to US-based sports fans). At this point, however, you'll probably have to go through a reseller.

Listen to local law enforcement authorities if they say that scams are afoot. If they hear reports about particular scam sites or methods, they'll publicize it - so pay attention and avoid any of the websites or phone numbers they've identified as potentially fraudulent.

Use common sense when it comes to pricing. If you go on a reseller or auction site and one seller is offering tickets at a steep discount to everyone else, the offer might very well be phony. Better to pay through the nose for a legitimate ticket than to pay a lesser amount for a ticket that never materializes.

Check the credentials of the seller. Bound and determined to go to that concert or Olympic event, no matter what the cost? Fine, but do your homework. Make sure the seller has an address you can verify, a working phone number, and the ability to process credit cards. If they don't list a phone number or if they insist that you wire the money before they send the ticket, walk away.

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