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Watch out for fake tickets to Steelers-Patriots matchup, police warn

Natasha Lindstrom
| Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, 3:57 p.m.
Ben Roethlisberger reacts during the second half against the Patriots in the AFC championship game Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass.
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Ben Roethlisberger reacts during the second half against the Patriots in the AFC championship game Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass.
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger reacts against the Patriots during the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxboro, Mass.
Getty Images
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger reacts against the Patriots during the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxboro, Mass.

Steelers fans hoping to snag a last-minute seat to Sunday's showdown against the New England Patriots should be careful to avoid getting stuck with a fake ticket, Pittsburgh police warned Friday.

On Thursday, police arrested a New York man for allegedly selling counterfeit tickets for the AFC playoff-like game at Heinz Field.

Reginald Sinclair Slocum, 27, faces charges of forgery, counterfeiting, theft by deception and criminal communication, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Alicia George said. Police arrested him in downtown Pittsburgh around 3:50 p.m., shortly after a buyer notified police they had been duped into buying invalid tickets to the game.

The purchaser, whom police did not identify, noticed “suspicious labeling” on the tickets and called the Heinz Field box office to verify if they were real, George said.

Turned out, the barcodes did not match the seats on the tickets.

The arrest followed several reports in the past few days of counterfeit tickets being sold for the Steelers-Patriots matchup, George said. In multiple cases, the duped buyers told police they met up with a seller near Downtown.

Police advised ticket purchasers to get as much information as possible before purchasing tickets online or via scalpers. Those who purchase tickets from a source other than NFL TicketExchange should ask the seller to send a photo of the ticket, then verify its barcode with the Steelers/Heinz Field box offices before paying.

“Also, buy tickets from a reputable and licensed seller such as Steelers, Stub-Hub or Seat Geek,” George said.

SeatGeek.com says a ticket tends to be invalid for one of two reasons: it was sold twice and the first ticketholder got to the venue before you; or the ticket was purchased from an unreliable source and is fake. To avoid scalping scams, the resale outlet advises buyers to look for other eventgoers with an extra ticket as opposed to people selling or buying many tickets near the event.

“Snagging tickets from a dude standing outside the venue is a huge gamble,” Seat Geek wrote in a post about how to tell if tickets are fake . “Scalper tickets could work just fine, but if they don't, getting your money back is impossible.

The warning about counterfeit sellers comes as prices for Sunday's highly anticipated game dipped Friday on several resale websites, the Trib's Paul Peirce reports.

Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field.

RELATED: Hyped up for Steelers-Patriots? Relive the top six regular-season games at Heinz Field

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or on Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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