With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, ticket brokers are seeing an uptick in orders, but according to two mass emails sent...

With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, ticket brokers are seeing an uptick in orders, but according to two mass emails sent out through the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) over the past several days, those same brokers are also being warned about instances of alleged fraud.

In one instance, a Maryland-based broker reported to the NATB that her company and other brokers have been receiving several Chicago Bulls ticket requests for the same seats, all from the same mailing address in Chicago, but the requests kept coming in through different names. The orders were not filled.

The second occurrence involved a Pennsylvania-based broker who complained of receiving Pittsburgh Penguins ticket orders that were charged to a stolen credit card. The orders requested the tickets be emailed, which can allow some scammers to receive the tickets before the charge can be disputed. Those tickets were cancelled by the Penguins.

Online fraudulent orders are an occupational hazard for ticket brokers and other merchants, and according Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC), the overall number of complaints is increasing.

For the 2009 calendar year, the ICCC saw a 22 percent increase in complaints to more than 336,000, compared to 2008. The dollar amount for those online crimes in 2009 reached an all-time high of nearly $560 million.

Ken Solky, owner of LasVegasTickets.com and current president of the NATB, told TicketNews that while he could not speak on the specifics of the two cases mentioned above, the NATB receives “dozens” of fraudulent ticket order complaints from brokers each year. Those complaints prompted the group to create the alert system, which allows NATB members to send out fraud alert emails through the organization’s Web site.

State chapters of the Better Business Bureau often issue alerts to consumers to be care of ticket fraud, but those warnings are generally given to fans about the dangers of buying from street scalpers.

“It’s a fantastic thing that quickly informs our members of potential scams,” Solky said of the NATB alerts. “They’ve helped stop a lot of fraudulent activity.”