Craigslist Ticket Scams

Craigslist is a great place to score tickets to sought-after concerts and sports events, but many are finding they’ve ripped off by counterfeit ticket scams.

Craigslist provides an excellent means to sell unneeded tickets to sporting events, shows, concerts, festivals, fairs or even airline tickets. All you need to do is make a post and wait for the emails and/or phone calls to start coming in. Finding deals or tickets to hot shows or “sold out” events has made it one of the first places to turn to when you want to purchase tickets, especially when they’re for premiere events.

Many of these tickets are sold for top dollar, but considering the considerable cost of tickets, even face value can mean a lot of money is going to change hands. Imagine, for example, that you find someone selling season’s tickets to all the home games played by you favorite NFL team. That could easily have a face value of $1500 for 2 good seats.

This means that you have to be careful when purchasing tickets from connections made on Craigslist. The tickets could be stolen or counterfeit or they could be priced far beyond the face value. The tickets may even have been used at a previous, similar event. There are a lot of scams out there awaiting the unwary. Luckily, there’s something you can do that might help you avoid going home with a counterfeit that costs nothing but a little of you time. Make sure you know what the tickets you’re purchasing are supposed to look like. Good printers are so cheap that with a little practice, anyone could create a decent looking ticket facsimile. Good enough to fool anyone that doesn’t know what the ticket is supposed to say on it and what the design is. You’d be amazed at how many people are fooled because they don’t know what the genuine tickets should look like. This won’t save you from a truly dedicated master of the counterfeit arts but it will certainly give you a major advantage when rendezvousing with a ticket seller.

Buyers and sellers should try to meet face-to-face but make sure it’s in a public place. If you’re bringing $1500 for those to season’s tickets it’s probably not a good idea to meet someone you’ve never met, alone in an isolated place late at night. A lot of crooks will settle for a few hundred. I’m not saying that you should be afraid to engage in transactions like this. I’m saying that you should but play it safe. I’ve bought and sold tickets many times through Craigslist and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again in the future.

Tips for avoiding Craigslist Ticket scams

  • Ask for a copy of the seller’s invoice stating the tickets have been completely paid for if you are buying an ENTIRE SEASON’S WORTH. If the whole amount was not paid, the seller does not have tickets, they may still have an invoice though. Check it carefully.
  • Ask the seller for their account #. It should match their name from the ticket rep and the tickets. The account # is on the top of the ticket. Call the team or ticket agent and speak to the person’s ticket rep and verify the person has an account and has tickets. People who have legitimate season tickets have no problem giving you their ticket reps name.
  • Always meet in person, if possible. Pay with a cashier’s check versus a personal check, protects your account information. If you pay without meeting, pay with PayPal it protects you (especially if tickets are never sent or are fake) or send a bank check.

    If the person is mailing you the tickets make sure you get some type of written receipt or contract via email stating when and how the tickets will be delivered/sent. Pay 1/2 now and the other 1/2 when the tickets are received. And make sure the person let’s you know they got your money and they are sending the tickets, track your communication via email!

  • People selling tickets at face value may be selling fake or scalped tickets. This is not ALWAYS the case, but it does happen. There are tons of scams out there. Check ticket agencies for views of seating charts, the cost of tickets, the dates of games, concerts, shows, etc. Research the tickets you are buying and know what you are getting! Tickets are easily reproduced so be aware of what you are buying.

31 Responses

  1. john howarth says:

    I have been scammed out of 700 for 4 tickets the rangers game 2 playoff game last night. I want to know who I can talk to about this matter and if there is a 800 number i can call about this?

    • Jill says:

      Would love to hear of your experience. I am considering 4 tix for $800 for a concert, but trying to be very cautious.

    • Marc says:

      I bought tickets from” tickget” for wwe tonight when I arrived at the arena I was Informed the ticket had already Been used. I contacted my bank, and called customer service for “tickget” which still have listings on craigslist.they put me on hold for 20 min, and then disconnected me 3 times, and the unbelievable happened on my 4th attempt they connected me to some kind of suicide hotline. I failed to see the humor. And tomorrow I will be seeking a way to press charges of some sort if my money is not refunded, be aware this really looked to be on the up and up

    • Kamilla says:

      Omg the same thing happened to us last night so disappointed I never experienced anything like that. If you will find out what the next step please posted here I would definitely take actions against that as*hole

  2. Blake says:

    If you meet someone to buy tickets, ask them if you can look at their ID to see their first and last name. If they won’t do that, they are hiding something.

  3. Geoff says:

    I’m purchasing NFL hard copy tickets tomorrow. I’m meeting face to face with the season ticket holder. I believe he also had them listed on NFL Exchange. How do I know the hard copy tickets are good at the gate and he hasn’t sold them electronically through NFL Exchange or perhaps Stubhub etc…

  4. JC says:

    I’m selling a concert ticket for face value, just under $200, and had someone text me with interest. They didn’t answer any questions about where to meet and do the exchange. Just that they wanted to pay cash and verify the ticket. They sent me a link in a separate text to verify the ticket. I’m hesitant to click on it or even continue the discussion. Any insight into this?

  5. David says:

    I have been contacted for super bowl tickets, and the seller wants me to transfer money via Google wallet. Is it safe?

  6. Shannon says:

    There is a person on OfferUp who has 2 tickets to Justin Bieber for $280. He says to do the transaction through PayPal then he will email the tickets to me. I asked if he could call me and he said he was in class but could text. I explained that I want to ensure this is not a scam and his response was…How about this. You send $20 first and I’ll send you the tickets right now.

    • paula says:

      did it work out well? im getting the same answer for some jb tickets

    • Maggie says:

      Hi! Did you actually receive your tickets? I am looking to purchase some festival tickets and have been told the same thing! I don’t see how I could get scammed if I get them up front, but it’s a little sketchy. Just trying to make sure I don’t get scammed!!

  7. Greg M says:

    I am interested in buying tickets from someone and I am meeting them in a public place. The two tickets are the actual tickets purchased by them. Would it be illegal if I asked to take a picture of their license? Should I write up an invoice receipt after the purchase? What precautionary things should I do to ensure I won’t be ripped off.

  8. Shan says:

    I just got scammed. First time this happened to me in my entire life. I cannot believe it. I wanted Justin Bieber tickets and inquired about several posts on Craigslist. This wonderful lady was super nice, needed to get rid of her seats, thanked me a bunch, negotiated with me and asked me to send payment via circle pay. Well I have paypal and venmo and don’t have this one. She said it’s bc she has an android – ok fair enough. I send half now and half after the concert. I mean I have no idea how else to do this – i ALWAYS buy from reputable ticket vendors but this time I did not feel like paying the $200 service fees.

    Anyway, she emails me ALL day long. Shows me the tickets via screen shot, shows me her name.. her email is the same, i had her phone number….

    She says she got locked out of ticketmaster while she was at work – so had to send her credit card statement to them so they would reset her password.

    After that… not one word. I was a sucker. I got screwed. I have never felt so sick. I am just in shock that people are out there like this.

    I WILL NEVER EVER EVER buy anything on this site again until they can somehow protect people from getting scammed. I am just so sad.

    • charli says:

      I feel your pain. The SAME thing just happened to me. She had a story about having trouble with her paypal account. She had other people interested in the tickets so if I wanted them I had to do a person to person deposit to her bank. Never got the tickets. It’s such a horrible feeling. I just hope karma takes care of these people. A very expensive lesson to learn. And my son won’t get to see Drake 🙁

  9. Dee says:

    I got scammed a few years ago. This guy said he had Drake tickets, and I LOVE Drake. $75 a piece. We drove from jersey to philly for the concert, only to pay for parking and gas and have the tickets scanned (he emailed the tickets and I sent the money via western union) and they said the tickets had been returned. So, he bought the tickets and got his money back, then sold them. When he gave me the info for western union, he gave me a fake address which really was his real address, he just switched the letters around. We googled his real name and his entire address came up, my friend and I drove to his house, but no one was home. I took a picture of the house, because he was dodging my calls, and told him I wanted my money back. He must’ve gotten scared lol we met in a Walmart parking lot, and he left the money in an envelope in a mail box in front of a Taco Bell. I posted an ad on Craigslist telling people to look out for him, and like 3 people emailed me saying he did the same thing to him with the same tickets!! Such a disgusting human being! I’ve bought tickets on CL before, and everything went smooth. Sucks that there are people like this.

  10. Taylor VanCleave says:

    I am nervous…I replied to an ad as well for the billboard music awards in las vegas. The guy says he has VIP comped tickets. He says that he is out of town working and cant attend. So therefore, he wants me to go to Moneytree and send the money and then he will email me all the e mail info on the ticket. As well as having all the info on him when I send the money. I have no idea yet what I am going to do…I know all about getting comped things in town..but have no idea about this guy…any suggestions?

    • Corrie says:

      Honestly anything off of craigslist when it comes to ticket sales 9 times out of 10 is a scam. The biggest way to tell is if tge the person gives you a long story that you didnt ask for in the first place of why they are selling the tickets. Or if they ask to email you instead of text or talk on the phone. Also if they claim they are not town so they will have to send somebody to meet you or they only request to mail or email you the tickets. But good luck!

  11. Corrie says:

    I just bought tickets to Bad Boy family Reunion for Cincinnati only I bought through stubhub. This is my first time buying with them but after reading all the reviews needless to say Im NERVOUS AS HELL. I would hate to get the event just to turned away because of the tickets already being scanned. I did call ticketmaster to confirm the order number on the ticket and it matches with the event but Im scared now. Most of the suggestions I seen all say to just get to the venue as early as possible that way if there are multiple tickets out there then I will have a better chance of mine being the first scanned so I won’t have to worry. Im just really praying that these are legit. Im going with family and i bought the tickets so would hate to let them down.

  12. Matt says:

    Never take pictures of your tickets and post them on any site. I made this mistake and the scammer lifted the barcodes from the image and sold them on StubHub. I contacted StubHub to post the tickets for sale and I received a message that the barcode was already listed and sold. I am currently working with StubHub to research the seller information. If StubHub addresses this situation remains to be seen.

  13. Fran says:

    I was scammed. Went to a concert on the weekend and after waiting 20 minutes in line I get to the staff worker and are told my lower level tickets are fake! I bought them on craigslist and am now trying to get my money back. I felt like crawling in a whole. I was so embarrassed. Now I have to try and see if someone can help me l

  14. Kari says:

    My son just got scammed $600 for Kanye West tickets at Oracle Arean. This man stole their money and my son and his friends have nothing to show for it. They met him in person, saw the sale receipts, got the guys number and everything seemed legit. A**hole! That’s all I can say. What can Craig’s list don for us? What are their protocols??

  15. rick says:

    Definitely ask to see a license and if they don’t have one, walk away! I bought “hard” tickets that looked so good, even Metlife stadium security said they were good copies. He showed me a receipt off of Stubhub (another good copy that I’m sure has a fake address on it) and I have his cell phone # from when we texted and met up in person, but it’s going straight to voicemail now. Going to take this info to police today, but doubt they’ll follow up on looking into it even though it can’t be that hard to at least track down the owner of the cell phone.

  16. SKsk says:

    Got tickets scammed last year. Cops seriously laughed and asked if I was being serious when I bought tickets off Craigslist. I mean I went to the extent of asking to see bank statements to show when she paid for tickets. Lost about $500 trying to make it to this soccer game… seriously awful. The parking lot tenant was like ” we have another one here that has a parking ticket that won’t scan” when I went up to the gate… 8 others had gotten ripped off. Worst part! AT&T stadium didn’t even try to get everyone’s info to report it to police.

    I managed to get license plate number and the place it was registered was an apt and then cops said nobody was there. Soooooooo awful!

  17. Jamie says:

    Met in person, tickets looked legit, receipt for what he paid to Ticketmaster looked legit, he even said he would be sitting with us since we purchased 3 of 4 tickets on the receipt. Got rejected at the door. So sad people resort to rob someone in such a cruel way with fake tickets to an event. Sad day folks, I handed $240 to this guy. Some way to make a living, lesson learned. Filed reports with NYPD and FBI in case we could help someone else.

  18. Connie says:

    I never considered myself to be naïve. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing in Jacksonville, FL on a Monday night, so it was not a sold out show and there were a lot of tickets available on Stub Hub, etc. However, I did not want to pay $200 per ticket and saw an ad from an individual on Craigslist. When I asked him if he would take $50 for two, he said he was willing to drop the price that low, but I would have to buy all four for $200. He told me that he worked at Publix, and when I told him I would meet him to purchase, he insisted that I go through Google Wallet because he has been away from his job so much, he was afraid he would get fired. He assured me that Google Wallet was secure and even had his SS#. After a lot of back and forth, Google Wallet told me that if the concert tickets were not attached to the email, I could cancel the sale while it was pending. I put my debit card info in, checked the attachments (he told me the 4 tickets were attached once I paid) and when it was clear that they were not (44 seconds), I called Google Wallet to cancel. They informed me that the seller had accessed the funds and couldn’t retrieve. It was literally 44 seconds. Please do not ever be as trusting and naïve as I was. I was devastated because I spoke to this guy several times, told him I was leery, believed he was a good person BECAUSE HE TOLD ME HE WAS (I’m so ridiculously trusting) and go robbed. The worst part about this was, he called me back (I was crying) and said, “Connie, I want you to enjoy this show in the front row, don’t cry, just pay $100 more for licensing fees and you guys are golden.” I was astounded that he even called me back. There was absolutely nothing I could do. Google Wallet is doing an investigation to recoup my money, but $200 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I read that many of these people are oversees and use voice over IP that allows them to have a local phone number to pull this off. I have learned a sad and valuable lesson.

  19. E.B. says:

    It is a shame that there are so many low-lifes out there who would scam unsuspecting people with fraudulent tickets schemes. I have listed numerous tickets on Craigslist, and I encourage all potential buyers to ask all of the right questions. It is important to recognize that potential buyers can also scam the sellers if you’re not careful.

  20. J.D. says:

    i’m a legit seller, not a scalper. i have tickets that i want to sell (at face value) because i can’t use them anymore, and don’t want to lose all the money i spent. But this page has me freaked out. I won’t go into all the details here, but I have a potential buyer who is triggering red flags with me, but i can’t tell if it’s really a sketchy situation or if i’m just paranoid because of all these stories. most of this is about buyers getting scammed, but is there anything that people recommend for sellers being scammed?

    • TA says:

      Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong then it probably is. if you continue to do sell make sure to meet the person in public and only use payment methods such as paypal or a wiring service so you’re protected.
      I stumbled upon this page because I’m trying to buy tickets to a WWE show and the guy has been emailing all day but once I asked for proof of the tickets he stopped. That’s all I need to know it’s fraudulent plus the cost of the ticket is about $300 less than face value. I don’t like stubhub due to fees but at least I know my money is protected.

  21. Mike G says:

    After reading this discussion I am pretty almost certain that I just dodged a bullet. Maybe the details of my story might help someone else…

    My wife found tickets to the US Open on Craigslist – the guy was selling 4 @$200 each but was willing to sell 3 to us (flag #1). When I met him (outside of a UPS store – not at an apartment of place of business – flag #2) – lots of warning bells started going off. He said he left his wallet in the office so he couldn’t let me take a photo of his ID (flag #3). The tickets themselves seemed to be printed on thin paper stock (flag #4)… the face value was $550 and it didn’t make sense that he would be so steeply discounting them given how high the demand is for the US Open (flag #5) – Plus my wife found tickets at the US Open site showing a much higher face value for similar seats (flag #6)… He claimed he bought them but couldn’t use them because he vaguely had another engagement (flag #7)… And, subjectively, he didn’t look like he was someone who would have plunked down $2200 for US Open tickets (Flag #8). He also seemed to be a bit too prepared for my questions – he knew exactly how to bring up a sample of the ticket online so that he could show me that they were legitimate (flag #9). He didn’t have a hard-copy of the receipt and instead showed me a picture (flag #10).

    So – I walked away and was even able to avoid getting hit in the head and robbed of my cash! I’m glad I got out of the situation only wasting 90 minutes of my time.

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