With the Chicago Cubs playoff games about to begin and tickets hard to come by, diehard fans will do just about anything to get inside the stadium.
Forbes magazine predicted the average ticket price for Cubs games at the start of the postseason in October will go for $920 a pop on the retail market, the highest price in baseball’s history.
That number represents a jump of nearly $300 from last season, when the average price for a Cubs playoff ticket was $632. If the Cubs get to the World Series, then Forbes paints an even more astonishing picture.
Record-breaking prices means it will be prime time for scammers to try to cash in on the high demand by taking to the streets with fake tickets, according to a new warning released Tuesday by the Better Business Bureau.
"Whenever there's excitement about a special event, like the Cubs post-season appearance, there are counterfeiters who want to take advantage," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Illegal ticket sellers know that fan fever can often cloud common sense and smart buying, Berna's cautions, people need to be careful so they are not ripped-off by bad guys selling fake tickets and poor quality, unlicensed merchandise."
The Better Business Bureau released the following ways to avoid being tricked into buying fake tickets or merchandise:
• If a deal is too-good-to-be-true, it just might be.
“One-time good deals should be red flags to anyone anxious for a ticket,” the BBB says.
• Only buy tickets and merchandise from a reputable ticket broker or retailer.
Find a trustworthy and established ticket retailer by searching ask.bbb.org for accredited businesses with the BBB.
• Look for the official hologram and license from the sports league.
“These are very difficult to fake and an excellent indication of a licensed product,” according to the BBB.
• If buying merchandise online, buy from licensed sites. Lookout for broken English in the descriptions.
“This could indicate an overseas company and these companies are among the principal culprits in producing counterfeit goods,” the BBB warned.
• Use a credit card if possible. Avoid buying with cash or with a bank account debit card.
Using a credit card allows you to dispute the charge before you pay or appeal to the card company after the purchase if you have been scammed.
If you do become the victim of a ticket scam, the BBB says the first thing to do is report the scam to the local authorities. BBB also offers a “Scam Tracker” that allows others to share their stories of being scammed and warn others.