The Better Business Bureau is warning anyone in search of tickets to summer entertainment options around Pittsburgh to be wary of potential scams.
The message came when a local woman lost $500 after purchasing what ended up being fraudulent tickets from a Craigslist seller for Wednesday’s Ariana Grande show at PPG Paints Arena, according to an announcement. The seller told the buyer that they could transfer the tickets between Ticketmaster accounts and then pay through digital payment website Zelle.
After the tickets were transferred and appeared to be legitimate, the payment was made. But afterwards, the buyer learned the tickets were purchased fraudulently, the bureau said. The report came from the bureau’s Scam Tracker, through which consumers can report such situations.
The bureau warned that similar scams may pop up throughout the summer for tickets to various events, from food festivals to concerts.
“Unfortunately, this is an all too common situation when it comes to hot tickets for costly events and scammers will price tickets just below the actual selling price to tempt buyers without raising suspicion,” said Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA, in the announcement.
In the scam involving Ariana Grande tickets, tickets were listed at $175. Tickets on Ticketmaster Wednesday afternoon ranged from $157 to $600.
A bureau risk report showed that concert and event ticket scams resulted in a median loss of $102. The bureau advised consumers to use payment methods that come with purchase protections and offered tips for buying tickets online.
Those tips include dealing directly with the venue, researching the seller and buying from trusted sources.
A Mt. Pleasant man who wanted to go to the KISS Farewell Tour at PPG Paints Arena in April lost $375 to a similar online ticket scam, according to state police. The victim bought three tickets for $125 each through Craigslist and then paid through Zelle.
The bureau issued a warning in January 2018 ahead of a Steelers playoff run regarding online purchases of merchandise and tickets.