SEC Ticket Scams Prompt Warning

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COLUMBIA - With the MU football season in full swing and Southeastern Conference games starting, a spokesman for the Better Business Bureau says fans should be sure their ticket is legitimate before they hand over their money.

Regional director Mike Harrison said, "You want to be cautious when you're purchasing tickets from strangers or folks outside the venue."

"One good piece of advice," he said, "is to, if you're getting ready to purchase a ticket from that particular person, have them walk with you up to the gate."

SEC games are a key draw on the MU football schedule. Tickets are more expensive and harder to come by, which can lead some consumers to take bigger risks when purchasing tickets.

More than 400 tickets did not scan at the first SEC home football game against the University of Georgia last year, according to MU. The missed scans indicate the tickets were either fake or used before.

Although MU has not seen a problem with counterfeit tickets yet this football season, the first SEC home game is scheduled for October 19.

Harrison said purchasing a ticket from an authorized source is the best way to guarantee it's real.

However, some fans are open to purchasing tickets from unauthorized sources because of cheaper prices.

Amy Nethero is an MU alum from St. Louis. She's been going to MU football games since she was a student and buys her tickets from various sources. She said she is open to purchasing from a street scalper.

"I've always thought about it, just because you know, last minute you can get a good price," Nethero said. "Sometimes you wonder if they are good tickets or not, though."

Harrison said consumers should examine tickets closely to make sure they're authentic. 

According to the MU ticket office, each ticket should have a barcode, account number and disclaimer. The barcode on the ticket must be scanned in order for a person to enter the game. 

The appearance of a ticket doesn't always guarantee its authenticity. 

"You want to examine those tickets closely, and make sure they're not copied," said Harrison. "Quite honestly with the way printing, computers and printing services are now, it's very easy to duplicate barcodes and pictures." 

When buying from an online source, Harrison said, consumers should use a credit card, so the charges can be disputed if needed. Consumers who pay cash typically cannot get their money back, which is a "major complaint" on the local and national level, he said.

Consumers should not only be wary when purchasing tickets for sports games, but also for concerts and other types of events, he said.

For more information on ticket sales or to report a scam, contact the Better Business Bureau.