Chattanooga, Atlanta experts warn of fraudulent tickets

Atlanta FBI, Tivoli Theatre personnel provide insight on how to distinguish real deals from scams

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — All college football fans are being warned to be wary of ticket scams for this weekend’s Peach Bowl.

In the Scenic City, Tivoli Theatre Foundation CEO Nick Wilkinson says that, sadly, he is no stranger to ticket scams negatively impacting consumers.

As Georgia faces off against Ohio State, not everyone with a “ticket” will be invested in the game’s outcome, but rather their bottom line.

FBI Atlanta Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Seres says scammers are on the prowl, looking to profit off of the big game and warns last-minute buyers to be alert.

“I saw tickets for $100 each in a section that normally goes for thousands of dollars,” Seres said. “Obviously, that is not a legitimate opportunity. If you see something too good to be true like that, that is not a place you want to try to send your money. It’s just an opportunity for someone to try to rip you off.”

But not everyone will spend New Year’s with their eyes on the game.

Wilkinson says the Tivoli Theatre is no stranger to scammers selling fraudulent tickets to the community.

He advises speaking with theatre venues personally and buying tickets on location, avoiding scammers altogether.

“We really hate it when somebody comes to us with a ticket that they think is an actual, real ticket and it turns out they may have bought it from a third-party vendor that really is not associated with the Tivoli, the Memorial Auditorium or any of our venues,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson advises shopping for tickets off of a venue’s official website.

Seres says to avoid paying apparent sellers directly through services such as Venmo or Zelle.

Both men say that if red flags can be located, both you and your money will be in good hands on New Year’s Eve.

“They may be reporting to work through TicketMaster or some other broker-dealer that deals in tickets, but if they are, why not just be on the site?” Seres said. “In those instances, that’s a red flag that someone’s trying to steal your money. They’re never going to send you the tickets.”

“Make sure you’re never getting a screenshot from somebody,” Wilkinson said. “Make sure you’re not getting just an email with a picture of something. Make sure it’s a real, actual ticket. Go in through either the actual venue website, the TicketMaster website, or whatever the broker may be.”

In a press release, FBI Atlanta says last year’s average ticket price to the College Football Playoff cost a staggering $3,000.

This year, they’ve even seen standing-room-only tickets priced online for $252.

The agency warns that even if an online seller seems legitimate, take caution.

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