How to buy event tickets safely online

There’s nothing worse than showing up at the doors to see your favorite artist perform live and being turned away for a fraudulent ticket. Though ticketing technology has greatly evolved, so have scammers. Not even Broadway was safe as Hamilton fans saw a surge of fake tickets last June. We know you can’t always purchase directly from Ticketfly and other primary vendors — shows do sell out, after all — but there are multiple ways to ensure that the tickets you’re purchasing are legit.

Is the ticket you’re buying real?

To ensure the tickets you’re purchasing are authentic, give it a thorough examination. If you have a recent ticket from a previous concert at the venue, compare it for blatant errors and inconsistencies — make sure the talent and venue are spelled correctly, the concert date is correct, the formatting matches other tickets, etc. If you’re purchasing a group of tickets, check the barcodes — each one should be unique.

Did everything above check out? Not so fast. Make sure the seats actually exist. One user on the forum double-checked his Hamilton seats with the venue to discover the seat number didn’t exist for his section. He contacted StubHub, where he purchased the ticket, and was given a comparable replacement.

As with all aspects of life, don’t let anyone pressure you. If the seller is pushy or drastically slashing the price of those hard-to-get tickets, consider it a red flag. Ask to see a physical receipt for the ticket(s). If the seller legitimately purchased it firsthand, it should be simple to provide.

Additional safeguards to prevent getting ripped off

If purchasing from a website, double-check the site’s policies. In the unfortunate event that your ticket is invalid, most services will try to find a replacement or give you a refund. Then you can go buy ice cream. Who cares if you didn’t see Adele — hello, you have two scoops of mocha almond fudge!

Similarly, make sure the website you’re purchasing from is legit. Check with the Better Business Bureau for their rating. StubHub and Vivid Seats both have A+ ratings. Your boy Craig and his list? Straight Ralph Wiggum. However, if Craigslist is your only option, be vigilant. If the seller or the offer seems dodgy, pass on the tickets. Better safe than sorry.

If purchasing from someone outside of the concert venue — which is never advisable, but we’ve been left in the cold with a bouquet of roses and an extra Haim ticket, too — ask the seller to go to the box office with you to confirm its authenticity. If he or she refuses, save your money.

Your best bets for scoring verified tickets

Many reputable ticketing companies offer purchasers the ability to transfer tickets to someone else, or host ticket exchanges for sold out events. Using either of these options means you’re guaranteed that the tickets you’re buying are legit.

Does the company you’ve purchased tickets from have an official ticket transfer program? If the tickets were purchased from Ticketfly, Eventbrite, or Ticketmaster, they can easily be sent to or received from friends. This way, they’re coming from a trusted source without the hassle of meeting up to exchange physical tickets.

Don’t have a friend with an extra ticket to transfer to you? Check if there’s a ticket exchange for the event you’re interested in. If one is offered, it will usually be highlighted on the original ticketing page, or you may get an email from the ticketing company letting you know an exchange is available. Ticketfly, for example, integrates with an easy to use, fan-friendly exchange called Lyte, which is available for sold-out shows. Lyte lets fans reserve an event ticket for instant purchase when the original buyer sells one back. Because it’s sanctioned by the primary ticketer you can rest assured that it’s safe and fairly priced. As a bonus, by buying from an exchange you’re helping to make a dent in scalping: when a Lyte exchange is available, ticket prices on the secondary market generally drop by 35%.

Above all, as with any important purchase, caution and common sense are your best friends. If those tickets seem too good to be true, they likely are. Heed the tips above, stay safe, and enjoy the show!

Originally published on the Ticketfly blog.