5 ways to avoid ticket scams and enjoy the show

Concerts, trips to the zoo and sporting events are some of the big attractions for summer fun. However, many of these activities can be ruined if you find out the tickets you purchased are fake.

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Last year, Better Business Bureau had over 462,000 inquiries across the U.S., Canada and Mexico from consumers researching ticket companies. Ticket scams were also listed as a major scam by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on his scam list last year. AARP estimates that scalpers collect more than $4 million per month in bogus sales.

BBB offers these tips to avoid fraudulent ticket purchases:

Purchase from trusted places. Whenever possible, purchase tickets through the venue or a trusted source — sites offering ticket protection to protect you from potential scammers.

Be wary of sites, such as Craigslist and online advertisements. Craigslist may be a real website, but your tickets may not be. Many sellers try to sell stolen or counterfeit tickets, making ticket scams one of the most common on Craigslist. The tickets may even have been used at a previous, similar event. When searching for tickets, be sure to avoid clicking on advertisements or e-mail links for cheaper tickets. These "deals" are usually scams due to unusually low prices.

Check out the seller/broker and verify your ticket. Check to see if the seller is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Understand the difference between a broker, seller and scammer. Know what the tickets you're purchasing are supposed to look like. Good printers are so cheap. That with a little practice, anyone could create a decent-looking ticket. Check ticket agencies for views of seating charts, the cost of tickets, the dates of games, concerts, shows, etc.

Use a protected payment method and understand all refund and guarantee policies. Use a credit card instead of a debit card or cash, this way you will have a chance at getting your money back if the tickets are not real. Never use a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Only purchase tickets if details about the transaction are clear and ask for an invoice copy to ensure you get what you paid for and will not be surprised by anything at the venue.

Remember, buyers and sellers should try to meet face-to-face, but make sure it’s in a public place.

Ensure your family’s summer fun by following these simple steps and always checking with the venue before your event. For more information on ticket sellers/brokers, check out bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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