COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned Cleveland Cavaliers fans to beware of phony offers for tickets to see the Cavs face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals on Thursday in Cleveland.
“A chance to see the Cavs play in the NBA Finals is one of the hottest tickets in Cleveland right now, and scam artists know that,” DeWine said. “We’re encouraging Cavs fans to be vigilant and to look for the signs of a scam. If someone offers to sell you tickets at a price that’s a little too good to be true or says you have to wire money to buy the tickets, it’s likely a scam.”
Ticket scammers often post phony ads on Craigslist offering tickets to popular events at a good price. Victims pay for the tickets, generally by wiring the money or buying a prepaid card and providing the card number, but they receive nothing in return.
In December, two Ohioans lost $800 each trying to buy tickets to see Ohio State play Alabama in the 2015 Sugar Bowl. They found offers for tickets on Craigslist and sent payment to the sellers but never received the tickets.
DeWine’s office has pursued several criminal cases involving ticket scams, including one against a Coshocton husband and wife who took more than $200,000 from hundreds of victims throughout the U.S. and Canada by selling but never delivering tickets to events like the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, and concerts.
DeWine offers consumers the following tips to avoid ticket scams:
- Be skeptical of offers that are too good to be true. Sellers on Craigslist or other online marketplaces may offer tickets at face value (or below) for events that are sold out or highly in demand, but these offers may be scams.
- Don’t trust sellers who say you must pay via wire transfer or prepaid money card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once the money is sent, it is very difficult to recover.
- Consider using a credit card to make the purchase. If a problem arises, federal regulations may limit your liability. Also, your credit card company may have a buyer protection program. Other payment methods might not have these kinds of protections.
Ohioans can report potential scams by calling the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. They also can report suspicious Craigslist ads to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office directly from Craigslist at www.craigslist.org/about/scams.