Anchorage, Alaska — May 16, 2017 Dust off the sunglasses, flower crowns and flip flops. It’s time for festival season to start! With summer just around the corner, many consumers will be looking to attend a craft beer bash, sporting event, all-you-can-eat seafood feast, music festival or other fun summer festivity.
Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest warns consumers preparing for these exciting events to beware of festival fraud. Because these events draw in large crowds, scammers will often take advantage of consumers looking online and on social media for discounted deals. When consumers click the link, it takes them to a website with Instagram worthy photos to entice them into buying tickets.
Better Business Bureaus across the nation have gotten reports of fake festivals, or festivals that promise way more than they deliver. Victims purchase tickets and show up at the time and location, only to find a crowd of frustrated ticket holders. The festival either never existed or fell far short of organizers’ promises.
BBB suggests these tips on how to spot a festival fake-out:
- Research the festival. Search online for the festival and make sure the name advertised matches the website. Scammers often use names that sound similar to real festivals. Also check BBB Scam Tracker to see if reports have been filed about the event.
- Look for (working) contact information: Check the official website for a phone number, physical address and email address. Be wary of sites that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number. Contact forms make it hard to reach someone from the company.
- Avoid too good to be true prices. There is no way a festival can offer tickets at extremely low prices without losing money. If the prices are much lower than elsewhere, it’s likely a scam.
- Double check with other sources. If a music festival offers top entertainment, check out those bands’ actual touring schedule. See what other users or news outlets have said about the festival in the past.
Don’t let scammers steal the fun. Here’s what consumers can do:
- Pay with protection. Paying with a credit card offers consumers protection if scammed. The credit card company can help obtain a refund if the tickets are fake. Be wary of online sellers that ask to wire money and don’t accept credit cards.
- Look for secure sites. The website should begin with https (the “s” is for secure) and include a lock symbol on the address bar.
- Research seller. Before deciding to purchase tickets on other sites make sure to research the seller at bbb.org. Secure, legal sites for second-hand purchases include StubHub.com, SeatGeek and BBB Accredited business Vivid Seats. These sites guarantee their consumers and sellers a secure transaction.