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Cleveland BBB warns of concert ticket scams after Taylor Swift tour crash Ticketmaster website

CLEVELAND, Ohio — With many Taylor Swift fans are scrambling for tickets to the pop star’s ‘Eras’ tour, the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Cleveland reminds people to beware of scams.

The BBB said the demand for live shows and the holidays made scammers “joyful”.

“After years of cancellations and hesitant touring schedules due to the COVID pandemic, consumers can’t wait to see their favorite recording artists in concert this upcoming holiday season,” the BBB said. “However, fans are discovering that ticket prices for their favorite artists aren’t what they used to be.”

The BBB said Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model, which increases the cost of tickets based on demand, is helping drive prices up. And when fan prices exceed fan budgets, they will look to resell tickets on marketplaces like Craigslist, StubHub, FlashSeats or Facebook Marketplace.

“Buying a resale ticket is not without its own problems,” the BBB said. “Scammers can entice consumers with attractive, low prices only to realize the ticket was fake when attending an event.”

According to the agency’s scam tracker, such issues are on the rise. The latest reported scams involved event tickets and flight tickets, but buyers ended up losing money and not getting the tickets they paid for.

Some of the scams were on Facebook, while another was on a ticket sales website.

On Tuesday, Ticketmaster sent pre-sale codes to thousands of Taylor Swift fans. But when they got to the Ticketmaster website, it had crashed.

Other ticket buyers who made it through found themselves stuck in a queue with more than 2,000 people ahead of them. A fan said he waited in the virtual line for hours before being kicked out. Some who finally got the chance to purchase tickets found that the dynamic pricing fluctuated with every page refresh or that their tickets were taken away from them if they didn’t act quickly enough.

The BBB said ticket scammers are also targeting pop-up holiday events and will sell fake tickets to small business owners who want space at a craft fair or shopping experience. Holiday gift givers have also bought tickets as gifts, only to find out the event doesn’t exist, according to the BBB.

If you’re looking to buy resale tickets, here are some tips:

• Before buying from a ticket reseller, research the business on BBB.org. Check if the company has a profile and check out the BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker) to see if anyone else reported them as a scam. Also, be sure to read the company’s refund policy.

Here are some reputable companies offering Taylor Swift tickets:

• Avoid buying tickets from people who post on Craigslist or other online marketplaces.

• Beware of offers that seem too good to be true and beware of offers that are much less than their face value.

• Whenever possible, use official band websites to purchase merchandise and authorized ticket brokers such as ticketmaster.com.

• Never use online payment methods, prepaid debit cards or gift cards as payment. The BBB said these forms of payment are often requested by scammers and once the money runs out there is little recourse to recover the funds. Choose to use a credit card on a secure website (search for HTTPS) as the payment method.

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