TAMPA, Fla. — With all the excitement as we approach this year's Super Bowl in Tampa, the Hillsborough County State Attorney and the Better Business Bureau are warning that scammers could be trying to take advantage of unsuspecting fans. They say this is especially true when it comes to trying to get tickets to the big game.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the key thing is to know the difference between a ticket broker, who is a legitimate and accredited reseller, and a ticket scalper, who is an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller.
We're already seeing snipe signs like these popping up around West Tampa near Raymond James Stadium, where someone is offering to pay cash for tickets. So how can you make sure you're not taken advantage of?
The Better Business Bureau says you'll want to look for secure websites like this one from the NFL when buying tickets. One of the key things to look for is the padlock on the webpage that shows it's secure. Also, you'll want to make sure it starts with HTTPS at the beginning of the web address.
Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren is prosecuting anyone who tries to take advantage of fans and that the penalties can be severe. But he also says prevention is one of the best ways to stay safe.
"Identifying the perpetrators can be hard and getting your money back is even harder," Warren said. "That's why making sure people understand the red flags to avoid becoming scams in the first place is so important."
Warren said the most common type of Super Bowl scam involves tickets, but people need to be on alert concerning other events surrounding the Super Bowl too.
"There are lots of events related to the Super Bowl that are outside the big game," Warren said. "There are also rental scams where people are trying to take advantage of those looking to rent their homes to people coming in for a Super Bowl weekend."
Warren says the best way to avoid becoming scammed is knowing what you're buying and who you're buying it from.
"Do your homework, look up the seller on the Better Business Bureau," he said. "Make sure you're paying with a credit card so that it gives you some protection for what you're buying. At the end of the day, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."