NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Ticket buyers beware!
PIX11 Investigates caught a guy in the act of selling counterfeit tickets to Z100’s Jingle Ball 2014 concert at Madison Square Garden this Friday—and there are likely many more scalpers ripping off many more unsuspecting buyers.
With tickets selling out immediately for the show that features Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams and more, it’s strictly a scalpers market for those trying to purchase tickets.
On Stub Hub, a legitimate reseller, prices are sky high. Some floor seats—front and center are priced at over $9,000 a piece. Even some of the side sections have seats going for up to $3,000.
But on Craigslist, not a licensed ticket broker, we found Jingle Ball seats selling for a lot less. There are numerous ads for tickets at $350 and $200 dollars. We even found an ad for $150 that says the seats are in section B on the floor. That’s the same section Stub Hub is charging over $4,000 per ticket. It sounded too good to be true .
So we answered one of the ads on Craigslist and met the seller on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He said his name was Jason. Our producer was wearing a hidden camera. Jason showed us two tickets that looked real to us.
I asked, “How do we know that they’re legit? Everybody says be careful.” Jason responded, “Believe me they’re legit. I don’t know to be honest how to make sure, but they’re legit.
Jason was selling the tickets for $550 for the pair, a good price considering the location close to the stage in a side section. We asked where he got them.
“I bought them actually from the box office," he said. He claimed he thought he was going to go to the concert but found out he can’t make it and needs to get rid of the tickets.
While we continued questioning Jason, our PIX11 cameraman came from across the street, where he had been monitoring our conversation. That’s when we told Jason we were from PIX11.
He immediately pulled his hood over his head and took off running, speeding down the block and around the corner. Interestingly, he left the tickets with us, a good indication they’re fake.
But just to be sure, we took the tickets to Jason Berger. He is a partner in All Shows, a licensed ticket broker in Midtown Manhattan.
He said the tickets Jason was trying to sell us were clearly fakes, though a good quality fake. He compared them to a real Jingle Ball ticket and pointed out some of the differences.
The serial numbers on the back of the two tickets were identical. Legitimate tickets always have different numbers.
The dollar signs on the fake tickets were a larger typeface than that on the rest of the ticket. On the face of the tickets, the real one says “Doors Open at 7pm."
It doesn’t say that on the phonies.
Some of the codes on the bogus tickets are also incorrect, though Berger says only an expert would spot that.
In fact, Berger said unless you had a real ticket to compare it with, the phony tickets Jason tried selling us could easily fool many people.
That’s why he says the only certain protection is to buy tickets either directly from the source, such as Madison Square Garden or Barclays, or from a licensed ticket broker or reseller.
He advises consumers to check out a broker with the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Ticket Brokers or NATB.
And the number one rule to avoid being scammed is to never, never pay cash for tickets. Use a credit card.