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Attorney General Mayes Warns Arizonans To Be Vigilant Against Sporting Events Scams

By on February 9, 2024 0 13Views

With the Super Bowl, Waste Management Open, and Spring Training Baseball underway or just around the corner, Attorney General Kris Mayes is reminding consumers to watch out for scams.

Scam artists may try to sell counterfeit tickets or original tickets that have been voided because they have already been re-sold via online ticketing re-sale websites. Scammers may also pose as a short-term rental site and inform consumers they have accommodations, request payment upfront, and then disappear, leaving them no place to stay. While many participate in legal sports betting, scammers may pose as sportsbooks to try to intercept your money and personal identification through sports betting.

“Scammers will take every opportunity to defraud hard-working Arizonans – especially around big sporting events,” said Attorney General Mayes. “The best way to stop fraud is by preventing it. I urge Arizonans to take precautions when buying tickets, betting on an event, or arranging accommodations when traveling to events. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Attorney General Mayes offers the following tips to consumers:

Purchasing Tickets:   

  • Buy tickets only from trusted vendors.
  • Be wary of purchasing tickets from someone you don’t know on Craigslist, eBay, or other similar person-to-person marketplace or auction sites.
  • Do not pay for tickets with cash, wire transfer, gift cards, or pre-paid money transfer. Scam artists often request payment methods that are difficult to trace or recover. If the tickets turn out to be fake, it is doubtful you will get your money back. You can dispute the charge if you pay by credit card and the tickets are fake.
  • If you plan on using a mobile wallet or peer-to-peer payment service, be sure you understand the protections the service provides before making a transaction.
  • Understand the “all-in” price.
    • Sometimes, the advertised price of a ticket is much lower than the actual price because of add-on fees. When shopping for tickets, understand the total cost, including fees.
  • Check the details before buying.
    • For events with assigned seats, make sure the ticket provides all necessary information (i.e., section, row, seat, etc.)
  • Complete your transaction on the website where you initiated the purchase. Do not let a seller convince you to send a payment through a different website.
  • Be careful of what you post online. Scam artists can easily take the bar code of a ticket from an online post and use it to create fraudulent tickets, possibly leaving you out of the event because someone has already used it to enter the event.

Lodging:

  • When booking online, be cautious about making reservations with unknown people or businesses. Make sure you receive a written confirmation of your reservation. Legitimate businesses will provide a written confirmation.
  • Avoid rental companies or individuals listing rental properties who can’t be reached by phone during regular business hours, tell you they are out of state or out of the country, or request communication via text only.
  • Remember, scam artists often request payment methods that are difficult to trace or recover. If you pay by credit card and there is a problem, you generally have greater protections than other forms of payment and may be entitled to a chargeback.

Sports Betting:

  • Make sure that any sportsbook is licensed to operate in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Gaming website contains a list of approved operators and a catalog of approved events and wagers.
  • Scammers may provide a gaming website or app that makes it appear like you have money in an account. Instead, they rely on excuses like technical issues or payment processing delays to prevent you from withdrawing your money.
  • Illegal sportsbooks may lack:
    • Testing to ensure compliance with regulatory standards designed to guarantee fair play.
    • Oversight to ensure consumers are paid their winnings.
    • Security standards to protect personal and financial information.
    • Compliance with anti-money laundering law.
  • Many illegal sportsbook companies are located outside of the United States leaving consumers with no recourse in the event of a dispute.

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting www.azag.gov/consumer. If you need a complaint form sent to you, contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.