Be on alert for fake Super Bowl tickets.
By ERINN CONNOR
Published 22 January 2011 09:13 PM
Photo: Jim Mahoney/Staff Photographer
These four tickets to Super Bowl XLV have a face value of $900 each but were on sale at Metro Tickets for $4,000 apiece.
Dallas ticket broker Jeff Green knows the tricks the NFL uses to trip up Super Bowl counterfeiters.
The thick, heavy paper with bar codes. The holograms. The raised ink. The heat-sensitive logos that disappeared with a touch of your thumb.
“You could pass a fake $100 bill a lot easier than you could pass a fake Super Bowl ticket,” said Green of Ticket Finders USA.
But even with the high-level security measures, officials again are raising warnings about ticket scammers and crooked scalpers before the big game Feb. 6 in Arlington.
Ticket sales for the game will speed up in the secondary markets after the conference championship games today. But already, the NFL, ticket brokers and consumer watchdog groups have issued tips for fans to protect themselves.
Jeanette Kopko, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Better Business Bureau, said buyers should be especially wary of online offers.
“You don’t really know who’s behind it, and you should know who the seller is,” she said.
Kopko suggested paying through a secure website. She advised using a credit card or other secure form of payment, because that leaves a paper trail and can help in disputing the charge with the card issuer or bank
More than 90,000 tickets are expected to be sold for the Super Bowl XLV — with most (75 percent) divided among all the NFL teams. The cheapest seat’s face value is $600.
Fans looking for last-minute tickets from unfamiliar sources should be wary:
After the Super Bowl two years ago in suburban Phoenix, police arrested nine people and confiscated nearly 50 unsold, forged tickets and $6,000.
Last year, a scam artist in Albany, N.Y., pleaded guilty to conning more than $8,000 from a woman who traveled to Miami to pick up eight tickets that didn’t exist.
“Anytime there’s a big event in the news, scammers will focus on that and catch you off guard,” Kopko said. “If it sounds too good to be true, trust your instincts and don’t buy.”
In past years, about 100 to 250 people have shown up at the gate for each Super Bowl with bogus tickets, said Anastasia Danias, the NFL’s vice president of legal affairs.
Robert Lodes, head of MetroTickets.com, a Dallas ticket broker, said counterfeiting should be a concern for buyers, and that going through a “brick-and-mortar storefront or a place with membership to the Better Business Bureau” is the best route.
Green, who gets his tickets from sources he wouldn’t identify, is on the National Association of Ticket Brokers’ board of directors. He supports having added security features to Super Bowl tickets, a protection for both him and customers.
“There are some secret things they have that they keep under wraps,” Green said of the NFL. “There’s a feel to them, a look. It’s not just a regular ticket you can print up.”
Among tickets for major sporting events, Super Bowl tickets are the toughest to reproduce, he said. Tickets to the National Championship Game of the Bowl Championship Series, for instance, just had a “regular layman bar code, nothing fancy,” he said.
Scalping is illegal outside Cowboys Stadium, and police say they will be on the alert for cheats.
“We will be running operations and actively looking for scalpers,” said Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Ellis Richard.
Meanwhile, legitimate tickets remain available — but for a hefty price. On Ticketmaster, the NFL’s official ticket exchange, prices ranged from $3,100 to $16,000.
Staff writer Brendan Case contributed to this report.
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