Patriots fans warned about Super Bowl scams

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New England Patriots fans cheer during the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

BOSTON — Pats fans hoping to get to see them take on the Falcons in Houston are being warned to keep an eye out for scammers.

“Year after year, the Super Bowl has always been an event where scams are recurrent,” said Paula Fleming, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for the Eastern Mass. Better Business Bureau. “With so many fans looking to support their team, it’s the perfect moneymaking opportunity for scammers.”

The BBB had these tips:

Tickets: At this point in the game, coming across tickets to the Super Bowl may require going through sellers and brokers – and consumers need to be cautious when doing so. If you need to go through a seller or a broker to buy your tickets to the Super Bowl, make sure to look them up on bbb.org to see what other customers have experienced. It is also a good idea to check if they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB). NATB members offer a 200% guarantee on tickets that don’t arrive in time for a game, concert or show.

Other tips to keep in mind when shopping for tickets are:

  • Know the difference between a ticket broker (a legitimate and accredited reseller) and a ticket scalper (an unregulated and unlicensed ticket seller).
  • Look for secure websites when buying tickets. Look for a website with the padlock on the page and ‘https’ at the start of the page’s web address.
  • Ask the seller where he or she is located. Also, ask how he or she can be contacted after the sale. If the seller is elusive, don’t pursue the offer.
  • Ask for a picture of the tickets so you can confirm the tickets match the venue. Check out the seats ahead of time to avoid obstructed view seats or seats that do not exist.
  • Always use a credit card so you have some recourse if the tickets are not as promised. Never wire money or pay with a cashier’s check. You’ll have no way of getting your tickets or money back.

Hotels: Super Bowl ‘17 will be hosted in Houston, Texas this year. If buying tickets for the big game is out of the question, the second best move for fans looking to support their team would be to rent a hotel room in the Greater Houston Area. Look through Accredited hotels in Greater Houston and Southern Texas to find last-minute bookings you can trust.

Merchandise: According to BBB San Francisco, counterfeit sportswear is a $200 billion dollar a year business. There’s a high demand for NFL merchandise during the playoffs, and consumers become desperate to not only find the exact item they are looking for, but to find it at a reasonable price. Scammers are known to sell fake merchandise from third-party websites that they bank on consumers to turn to once popular apparel starts running out in particular sizes.

This year, it is expected that the jerseys of specific players will be more desirable and harder to find than others. The jerseys of the quarterbacks competing in the Super Bowl,Tom Brady (#12) and Matt Ryan (#2), will most-likely be popular items.

For consumers who are looking to purchase jerseys and other merchandise for the Super Bowl this year, make sure you are shopping with a legitimate business. Visit an Accredited sportswear-store near you or shop directly on the NFL website.

If you believe you have purchased a counterfeit ticket, immediately report it to the NATB at 630-510-4594 and file a complaint with your local BBB at bbb.org.