When a show sells out before fans are ready to commit, we end up searching for tickets on StubHub, Facebook, or other platforms. These secondary markets expose us to scammers, which cost us money and ruin our experiences. I put together some advice for fans who buy secondhand tickets.
How to Avoid Fake Tickets on StubHub
StubHub provides a platform for scalpers to sell tickets to fans and charges hefty fees. So in a way, we get scammed on every StubHub purchase. Nevertheless, StubHub offers excellent protection against fraudulent tickets, assuring money back for any fan that doesn’t receive a ticket as advertised. Using smart purchasing tactics, fans can protect themselves further, and avoid awkward rejections at the door.
Fans buying on StubHub should prioritize instant download tickets over mobile tickets. Platforms like AXS or Ticketmaster use mobile tickets to increase ticket security. Basically, mobile tickets are transferred to the buyer on the day of the event and can only be accessed from an application. Often, the seller on StubHub will receive their electronic ticket just hours before the event and must remember to transfer the ticket in-app. Sometimes transfers will go through multiple people. One scammer, or simply someone who forgot, can stop everyone down the chain from receiving a ticket.
If you purchase a mobile ticket, be ready to call StubHub when you don’t receive your pass. If they can’t get in touch with the seller, StubHub will find you a ticket or offer a refund.
Instant download tickets avoid this problem, but could still be fake. Fans will only realize their mistake when the bouncers’ scanning gun rejects their ticket. Fake instant downloads are less common these days, and StubHub will refund fans when fakes do happen, but I know all too well the pain of realizing you got scammed seconds before seeing your favorite artist.
How to Avoid Scammers on Facebook
Facebook, Craigslist, and other similar platforms are popular because users can avoid the 25% to 50% fees charged by StubHub. However, buyers and sellers are responsible to facilitate the transactions themselves. This free market opens the flood gates for scammers, who use bots to make fake profiles and advertise tickets. As buyers, we need to make sure that we don’t get scammed.
Some buyers feel that sellers should send the tickets before they pay. While not without its merits, I believe this buyer-first mentality is unreasonable towards genuine sellers. In fact, if I was writing an article about selling tickets on Facebook, I would advise sellers to ask for payment first. Also—people selling fake tickets would be happy to send tickets first to earn buyers’ confidence.
So as buyers, we are going to pay the seller before he sends us a ticket. How do we make sure we don’t get scammed? There is currently no foolproof method to eliminate the risk of fraud, but we can usually expose scammers with a bit of digging.
First, look at the seller’s profile.
Where are they located? Is their profile new? Are there any posts or pictures? Do they have many friends? Accounts that are international, new, friendless, or pictureless should raise flags immediately.
Second, engage the seller in conversation.
Note if their account says they are from New York, but they can’t form a sentence. Try to call them. A local scammer with a real profile will fear confrontation. If they are willing to speak with you and sound like a genuine fan, they probably are.
Finally, trust your gut.
When it comes time to make a decision, let your instinct become your greatest weapon.
Good luck out there!
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