September 20, 2006 Sean Burns
By Christine Paluf
Counterfeit tickets are a growing problem for those purchasing tickets outside a stadium or arena. Technology is getting more advanced, and it’s harder to be able to tell what’s legit, and what could leave you standing outside the gates with an empty wallet.
As computers and scanners improve, even the novice counterfeiter can produce very convincing fake tickets. Usually fans don’t realize their tickets aren’t real until they either can’t get into the arena, or when they find someone else in their seat.
“We understand there is a high demand for tickets and there will be probably some counterfeit tickets out there. We suggest you take time and effort in deciding who you’re going to buy a ticket from,” said Capt. Julie Gillespie, University of Texas Police Department in a report by Austin’s KVUE News.
According to an article in the Austin-American Statesman, Sgt. Dominic Zultanski, a detective with the South Bend Police Department in Indiana, figures that based on the bogus tickets police recovered last year during Notre Dame’s game against top-ranked USC, one crew of counterfeiters made $45,000 to $90,000 on the event.
Big money like that attracts more and more scam artists. There are major counterfeit rings that produce tickets on large scales and smaller ones that may only be two-man operations. With the latter, one person approaches you and brings you to their partner with the ‘goods.’
At a Notre Dame game last week, more than 100 tickets were circulating the campus, according to an article in the school’s paper, The Observer. Two arrests were made during the Penn State game, and another three occurred this weekend . Notre Dame tickets are some of the most desirable tickets in the sporting industry, and it’s logical that they’d be vastly counterfeited.
Director of ticket operations for Notre Dame, Josh Berlo told the Observer that Notre Dame’s tickets are some of the most secure in the world, as each ticket has seven separate security features.
“We use the same ticket printer that has ticketed the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the [NCAA] Final Four [basketball games], and political conventions,” Berlo told the paper, noting that the University meets with its printing company annually to work on making tickets secure.
Holograms and burn tests, black light tests and simple visual inspection are ways of possibly identifying whether you have purchased a fraudulent ticket. But when it comes to buying from the secondary market, there are a few things you can do before you even have the tickets in hand.
First of all, always use a credit card for a ticket purchase. You will have some recourse if the tickets are fakes. Don’t buy tickets in front of the venue. Cash is almost always used to purchase, and the chances of buying a fake ticket are higher, as when demand increases and desperate fans want tickets, fraud is higher.
When choosing an online site for your purchase, make sure that there is some sort of accreditation on the site, such as a seal from the National Ticket Brokers Association, or ask if they are a licensed broker.