Summer festivals celebrating anything from food to music to local arts and crafts have become increasingly popular in the past decade. While a lot of the festivals are legitimate, there have already been reports of phony festival scams popping up across North America. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is warning local residents to be aware of these phony festival scams and to do their homework before purchasing tickets to any festival in the area.
“Scammers create flashy websites and social media accounts to tempt consumers into buying tickets for non-exist events,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “Before purchasing tickets, be sure to do your research ahead of time to save yourself the hassle.”
Last year, BBB Scam Tracker received more than 300 reports of ticket scams nationwide. BBB and the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), a BBB National Partner, are working to raise awareness and educate consumers about the smartest ways to buy tickets.
BBB offers the following tips before purchasing festival tickets this summer:
Research the seller. Search online for the name of the festival and make sure the name advertised matches the website. Scammers often use names that sound similar to real festivals. Check bbb.org and BBB Scam Tracker to see if reports have been filed about the event.
Check the site’s security. Before ordering tickets, check the URL link to make sure it starts with “https://” (the ‘s’ means it is secure). Also, be sure to look for the padlock icon located at the corner of the URL bar.
Verify contact information. Be sure the festival website has a phone number, physical address and email address. Be wary of sites that make it hard to reach someone, such as those that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number.
Prices too good to be true. There is no way a festival can offer tickets at extremely low prices without losing money. If the prices are much lower than elsewhere, it’s likely a scam.
Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you didn’t approve or if you have not received your product. Other forms of payment such as debit cards, prepaid cards and gift cards don’t provide the same protections as a credit card. It is also important to note that some online money transfer sites, such as PayPal, do offer protections as well.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from over 3,700 local businesses and professional firms. BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, consumer/business education programs and dispute resolution services. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.