We sat down with OpSec’s Vice President of Global Licensing, Bill Patterson, to discuss this issue, and to share tips about how consumers can avoid getting scammed.
- How big a problem are counterfeit tickets?
With any major event, it’s always a problem. Counterfeiters need an easy way to make a quick buck and disappear. High-priced major events make that opportunity more attractive than most. It’s simple economics… the demand is there, the supply is limited. The counterfeiters will take advantage of that imbalance and “simulate” additional supply.
The proliferation of “print at home” tickets has added to the ease of selling counterfeit tickets. But educated buyers/consumers can thwart that angle and force the supply chain back towards more secure methods.
- Is there any one sports league that’s more immune than the other?
No. There isn’t any one sports league as it is not merely a sports problem. Concerts, shows, political events… they’re all subject to the activities of counterfeiters. Again, heavy demand and limited supply is the formula for a problem.
- Do you think the problem will get worse before it gets better?
The problem will continue to get worse as ticket prices for the event will continue to grow. Increased security features and secure supply chains are helping to curb that growth before it gets out of control.
- Are counterfeiters keeping up with the types of security measures used in each ticket?
Definitely not. And they don’t need to. They need to simulate it “enough” to where someone isn’t going to look at it that closely. That’s why we ask second-market purchasers to really inspect the tickets visually. To keep up with the security features, counterfeiters must invest… and that type of investment encroaches on their ability to maximize short-term profits. They’ll always take the easy way out to manufacture cheaply and quickly.
- What are some of the key giveaways for fans to look for when determining if a ticket is real or counterfeit?
Visually, look at the tickets themselves. If there is artwork printed on the ticket, the print should be clean, in register and professional looking. Inks should not smudge. The variable information should not smudge. Edges should be clean, crisp and at right angles. The sides of the tickets should be straight… not like they’ve been hand-cut. If you have friends nearby with known legitimate tickets, use it to compare the ones you’re about to purchase.
Ask why the purchaser is selling them. Someone got sick? Injured? The more elaborate the story, the more suspicious it like is. And if someone is selling the ticket outside of the venue, they are likely going as well. No one has extra tickets to sell and then they’re going home. So ask to walk into the venue with them. If they refuse, don’t buy the ticket.
If the ticket has been printed out on normal paper by a computer… don’t buy it unless the person is willing to walk into the venue with you. That is just too simple to recreate with a desktop computer and over-the-counter software.
- What types of sites should fans buy tickets from online? What sites should they avoid?
Every major ticket seller and/or league has an online partner. For example, MLB uses Stub Hub. NFL uses Ticketmaster. For a small fee, you can upload your unwanted tickets to thousands of sellers looking to buy. And as a buyer, you’re guaranteed that the ticket has been verified and will be provided to you as legitimate. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Stay away from sites that are “flea market” type peer-to-peer sites such as Craigslist. Nothing against Craigslist personally… I have purchased furniture, toys and a swing set through Craigslist. But tickets… no way. Too easy to be ripped off FAR, FAR AWAY from the gate of the venue.
Share your counterfeit ticket stories, or how you plan to steer clear of fakes this season, by tweeting at us! Follow @brandsecure for industry news and tips on how you can avoid getting scammed.