Super Bowl Ticket Scams to Look Out For

7 min read
January 26, 2024 at 2:04 PM

Super Bowl ticket scams have increasingly become a prevalent issue, especially as the grandeur of the event continues to escalate each year. The allure of the NFL's biggest game attracts not only genuine fans but also opportunistic scammers looking to exploit the high demand for tickets. These scammers deploy various tactics, from selling counterfeit tickets to running sophisticated online scams. The tragedy of fake Super Bowl tickets is not just monetary loss but also the emotional disappointment for fans who travel from afar, often spending thousands, only to find out their tickets are invalid. These types of NFL ticket scams devastate fans' once-in-a-lifetime experience, turning a dream event into a nightmare.

Super Bowl Ticket Scams

The mechanics of these Super Bowl scams are diverse and evolving. In some cases, scammers create convincing fake websites that mimic official ticket outlets or resale platforms, luring unsuspecting buyers with the promise of a deal on Super Bowl tickets. These fake sites not only sell nonexistent tickets but also potentially steal sensitive personal and financial information. In other instances, scammers sell counterfeit physical tickets, which are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to distinguish from authentic ones. The issue of fake football tickets extends beyond just the Super Bowl, affecting other major games and events within the NFL. Fans are often advised to be extremely cautious, especially when purchasing tickets from secondary sources.

The league has taken steps to combat the NFL Super Bowl ticket scam problem, implementing advanced ticketing technologies and partnering with verified resale platforms. However, the battle against these fraudulent activities is ongoing, as scammers continually adapt their methods. Public awareness and education are crucial in this fight. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets only through official channels and to be skeptical of deals that seem too good to be true. Despite these efforts, the problem persists, underlining the need for continuous vigilance and smarter, more secure ticketing solutions in the world of sports entertainment.

eBay Super Bowl Ticket Scams

eBay, a popular online marketplace, can be a hotspot for Super Bowl ticket scams. The platform's open nature makes it a target for scammers, as seen in a notable 2005 incident. A man from Hudson was sentenced to over six years in federal prison for defrauding 41 people of $255,000 by selling non-existent Super Bowl tickets on eBay. This case, involving the sale of tickets for the game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, highlights the risks associated with purchasing high-demand event tickets on less regulated online platforms. Buyers were left without tickets and refunds, underscoring the importance of vigilance and purchasing from official or verified sources.

So, can you buy tickets on eBay? While eBay does allow the sale of event tickets on the site, they are not an official ticketing partner of the league or any of its teams. Both buyers and sellers should be mindful of the risks involved. eBay was not built as a ticket marketplace by design, and lacks many of the features that primary ticketing sites employ. From a seller’s standpoint, you must consider eBay’s Money Back Guarantee, which often skews in the favor of a buyer in the case of disputes. If you are selling digital tickets, it becomes extremely difficult to prove your case if a buyer claims they never received anything from you. You will not have a tracking number from a shipping carrier, and in many cases, there are few protections for sellers when listing digital goods. From a buyer’s perspective, you must be mindful of this. If eBay is a less attractive site for legitimate sales of event tickets, the likelihood of encountering a fraudulent seller may be greater. Furthermore, while eBay does offer the Money Back Guarantee policy, you may find yourself only learning that your tickets are fake when arriving at the gates. You can file a dispute with eBay, though you will have to go through the claims process and will likely face a delay and some possible headaches before getting your refund. You may also be asked to provide proof that the tickets you purchased are invalid.

Facebook Super Bowl Ticket Scams

Super Bowl scams on Facebook and Facebook Marketplace are a growing concern. Scammers often exploit these platforms to sell fake tickets, especially for high-demand events like the Super Bowl. They might create listings for sold-out events at lower prices to attract buyers. They may also hold contests or claim to be raffling off tickets to lure in victims. Facebook strictly prohibits the sale of events or admission tickets on the site, and buyers should never initiate a purchase for Super Bowl tickets on Facebook.

Craigslist Super Bowl Ticket Scams

Like Facebook, Craigslist is also a hotspot for Super Bowl ticket scams. Craigslist is a classified advertisements website in which all transactions are between the buyer and seller only, with no support in cases of claims and disputes. Individuals looking to purchase Super Bowl tickets should never do so via Craigslist, no matter how good the deal may sound. Even if the seller offers to allow you to photograph their ID at the time of the in-person meetup, there is no way to verify that the ID is not forged or stolen. Ticket stubs, receipts, and contact information can all be fraudulently crafted with ease, especially with the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) tools. The internet is littered with accounts of unsuspecting buyers searching for craigslist super bowl tickets, only to find themselves being denied at the gates of the event with few options to pursue the scammer legally.

SeatGeek Super Bowl Scams

In secondary ticket marketplaces like StubHub, SeatGeek, and TickPick, most of the inventory originates from brokers or individual sellers. This reduces the likelihood of encountering a fake ticket on these platforms, which many wonder about when asking, "Is SeatGeek a trusted site?" or "Can you get scammed on SeatGeek?" The risk is minimal because these major companies implement robust guarantees. These protections are designed to safeguard buyers in the rare instance that a ticket is invalid at the venue, ensuring a secure and reliable ticket purchasing experience.

How Can You Tell if NFL Tickets Are Fake?

To tell if NFL tickets are fake, especially in the digital era, focus on the source of purchase and digital details. Only buy from official NFL sources or authorized resellers. Be wary of offers from unofficial websites, especially if they display poor design or lack secure payment methods. Extremely low prices can be a significant red flag, as can the absence of an official confirmation email. Authentic digital tickets should be transferable within official apps or websites. If pressured to make a quick purchase or asked to use payment methods that lack buyer protection like cash, money transfers, cryptocurrency, or friends and family payments, it is likely a scam. Always confirm ticket authenticity through official channels if you have doubts.

NFL Official Ticketing Partners

As of 2024, the official ticketing partner of the NFL is Ticketmaster. They have an extended partnership with the NFL, which includes providing secondary ticketing services for the league and its clubs. This partnership also allows the option for club primary ticketing services and operates the NFL's unique "open" system for ticketing. This system enables fans to find verified NFL tickets across multiple ticket marketplaces, enhancing the ticket buying and game day entry experience. Additionally, other platforms like StubHub, Vivid Seats, and Seat Geek are also known for offering tickets for major NFL events like the Super Bowl, though they function as resale sites and in some cases hold official partnerships with individual teams.

How to Not Get Scammed Buying Super Bowl Tickets

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL, like many other organizations, has embraced a near-universal shift to paperless ticketing. This digital transformation has revolutionized how ticket authenticity is verified. The Ticketmaster NFL Super Bowl LVIII Tickets page states, “All Super Bowl tickets are 100% mobile and verified, and when you buy on Ticketmaster, you can guarantee that the seat you buy is the seat you get”.

Now, with most NFL teams adopting this technology, the process of ensuring that tickets are genuine has become predominantly digital. This modern approach not only streamlines the ticketing process but also enhances security measures against counterfeiting. Here are some tips to ensure that your digital NFL tickets are genuine:

  1. Official Purchase Sources: Always buy tickets from the NFL's official Super Bowl ticket exchange (the Ticketmaster NFL Ticket Exchange), the team's official app, or authorized digital ticketing partners. The shift to digital ticketing is meant to reduce counterfeit tickets, but it also means you need to be cautious of where you purchase your tickets online.
  2. App Verification: For paperless tickets, teams often use their official app or a designated app like Ticketmaster or StubHub. Ensure you download the correct app from an official store (like the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android). Tickets should be stored within these official apps, which have security features to verify their authenticity.
  3. Email Confirmation: After purchasing, you should receive an email confirmation directly from the official source. This email usually contains a link to access your digital ticket. Be wary of emails that do not come from an official domain.
  4. Barcode and Scanning: Digital tickets will have a barcode or QR code for entry. However, unlike physical tickets, these codes can often change dynamically for security reasons. Ensure your ticket is loaded in the official app to avoid issues with outdated barcodes.
  5. Pricing: As with physical tickets, be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Extremely low prices on secondary markets can be a red flag for a scam.
  6. Transfer and Resale: Only use official NFL platforms or authorized partners for transferring or reselling tickets. The official apps usually have a feature for secure ticket transfer.
  7. Account Login: Ensure that you log in to your account through the official app or website. Be cautious of any suspicious login pages that may be phishing attempts.
  8. Check for Typos and Inconsistencies: Even in digital formats, be aware of typos or inconsistencies in the team names, dates, times, or other details in your ticket information.

By following these guidelines and staying vigilant, you can confidently navigate the ticketing landscape of the NFL and enjoy the game without the worry of fake tickets. Remember, the key to ensuring ticket authenticity is to stick to official sources and apps for all purchases and transfers.

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