In light of COVID-19, many entertainment venues have canceled or postponed performances and sporting events.

The 2021 Super Bowl is happening, however, Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida. The NFL has announced that about 22,000 fans can attend, with 7,500 of those being free tickets for vaccinated health care workers. That means that 14,500 tickets will be sold.

Here is what you need to know about online ticket purchases. Thanks to the internet, there are countless ways for consumers to find tickets and connect with online marketplaces, ticket sellers and resellers. Unfortunately, some of them are rip-offs, and it’s not always clear how to tell if a ticket is fake.

Last year, the Better Business Bureau received more than 200 reports on BBB Scam Tracker about ticket scams related to sporting events, concerts, theater and more.

BBB is warning consumers to be smart when searching for and buying tickets, to ensure they are purchasing from a trustworthy source. BBB and the National Association of Ticket Brokers are working to raise awareness and educate fans about the smartest ways to buy tickets on the secondary resale market.

Here are some tips for buying tickets, whether you are looking for tickets for a game or any other event:

● Purchase from the venue whenever possible. Many official ticket sales agents now offer secondary sales options, as well.

● Consider your source. Know the difference between a professional ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller), a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller), and a scammer selling scam tickets.

● Check out the seller/broker. Look them up on BBB.org to learn what other customers have experienced. Check to see if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. NATB members offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets. Look up the seller on VerifiedTicketSource.com to confirm you are buying from an NATB-member resale company.

● Buy only from trusted vendors. Buy online only from vendors you know and trust. Look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. Don’t click through from emails or online ads; a common ticket scam trick is to create a web address that is similar to a well-known company.

● Know the refund policy. You should only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction. Sellers should disclose to the purchaser, prior to purchase, the location of the seats represented by the tickets, either orally or by reference to a seating chart; and, if the tickets are not available for immediate access to the purchaser, disclose when the tickets will ship or be available for pick up.

● Use payment methods that come with protection. Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Debit cards, wire transfer or cash transactions are risky. If the tickets are fraudulent, you won’t be able to get your money back.

● Be wary of advertisements. When you search the web for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Use good judgment; some of these ads are going to be ticket scams, especially if the prices are low.

● If you’re unsure, verify your tickets. Pay a visit to the arena where the event will be held. Present your ticket to “Will Call” (customer service) and they can verify if your ticket is legitimate and show you how to tell if a ticket is fake.

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