On Sunday, February 3rd, Super Bowl 53 kicks off!  As consumers follow the ball’s trajectory, scammers sit right behind them, stealthily picking their pockets.  In fact, thievery is going on even now.  Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that recurrent scams have been accompanying Super Bowl fever for decades.  Sports fans’ attachment to their teams is the perfect setup for crooks seeking to attack their wallets.  Here’s BBB’s coaching advice for fans who need a strong defense against “Team Scammer.”

Ticket precautions

If you’re trying to get tickets to the game at this late date, you probably have to deal with sellers and brokers. Number one rule: Check them out at bbb.org. Other customers may have shared their experiences with that particular entity.  It’s also important to look them up with the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB). If they are members, there is a 200% guarantee that tickets will arrive in time.

Some more points to keep in mind:

  • There’s a difference between a ticket scalper and a ticket broker. Scalpers are unregulated and unlicensed. Brokers are legit and accredited.
  • Avoid websites without the padlock icon and be sure the web address starts with “https.”
  • Find out where the seller is and how they could be contacted later. Elusiveness on their part is a dead giveaway of a scam.
  • Get them to send you a picture of the tickets. Check if they are for the correct venue and whether the seats are obstructed or even exist.
  • Watch out if a ticket is going for a comparatively low price.
  • Pay with a credit card. Never wire money or send cashier’s checks. A card gives you some security should the deal be a scam, otherwise your money is lost.

Counterfeit merchandise

Sales for team-specific sports apparel always spikes around Super Bowl time. For fans who want to get into their team’s spirit it can be hard to resist what looks like a great price for a team jersey. Scammers know this and try to take advantage of it. The result can be a product of inferior quality that has the distinct odor of counterfeiting about it. Here are BBB’s tips:

  • Always make your first shopping attempt with a legitimate merchandiser. Local brick-and-mortar stores are a good firststop, or check the NFL website.
  • When possible, carefully examine the item before buying, watching for irregular, zigzagging stitches. Crooked stitches are a sign of a fake. Check whether the material feels heavy or light and cheap.
  • Super low prices indicate counterfeits.
  • Fakes do not have hologram tags.
  • Websites with misspellings and other grammar errors may be overseas counterfeiters.
  • Use bbb.org to see if the company has a history that can be helpful to you.
  • Buy from Craigslist or eBay at your own risk. There are no guarantees with such sellers.

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