Summer is in full swing, and that means festival season is upon us. Unfortunately, it also means that it’s the time of year that scammers entice would-be festival goers into purchasing tickets via fake websites, flashy social media ads and discounted deals.

In 2018, BBB Scam Tracker received more than 400 reports of ticket scams nationwide. Victims reported purchasing tickets, then showing up to the event only to find out the event never existed or fell far short of organizers’ promises.

The BBB reminds consumers to be wary when purchasing tickets to any event.

“Scammers often target festival goers by selling tickets for non-existent events or festivities that don’t fulfill expectations,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President of BBB serving Central East Texas said. “While these summer activities sound appealing, consumers should be wary when purchasing tickets to any event.”

BBB offers the following tips to make sure your summer stays festive:

  • Research before purchasing. Search online for the name of the festival and make sure the name advertised matches the website. Scammers often use names that sound similar to real festivals. Check bbb.org and BBB Scam Tracker to see if reports have been filed about the event.
  • Check for (working) contact information. Be sure the festival website has a phone number, physical address and email address. Be wary of sites that make it hard to reach someone, such as those that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number.
  • Watch out for prices too good to be true. There is no way a festival can offer tickets at extremely low prices without losing money. If the prices are much lower than elsewhere, it’s likely a scam.
  • Spot unrealistic claims. Do a little online sleuthing to see if claims add up. If a music festival offers top entertainment, check out those bands’ actual touring schedule. See what other users or news outlets have said about the festival in the past.
  • Pay with a credit card. You can dispute the charges if the business doesn’t come through. Be wary of online sellers that don’t accept credit cards.
  • Look for secure sites. The website should begin with https (the extra “s” is for secure) and have a little lock symbol on the address bar.
  • Purchase tickets through a known ticketing agency. These types of agencies typically have refund policies and you aren’t having to chase a one-man operation that has skipped town.
  • Avoid tickets sold on free online listings. Scammers are skilled at providing realistic tickets and fake receipts. Check out third-party ticket sites at bbb.org before making purchases.

– For more information on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call 903-581-5704 or use BBB Scam Tracker.