Legions of Taylor Swift fans failed to get tickets for her upcoming "Eras Tour" during this week's messy, internet-breaking presale. But things could be worse: Your tears would ricochet — to paraphrase a Swift song — if you got scammed into paying top dollar for tickets that didn't exist.
Between the glitches during this week's disastrous presale, Ticketmaster cancelling Friday's general sale for Swift's tour, some sellers on secondary markets asking for upwards of $28,000 a pop for tickets and warnings from authorities about counterfeiting, many Swifties are understandably seeing red. But those determined to witness the singer's first tour since 2018 shouldn't let emotions cloud their better judgement given how much money is at stake.
A single nosebleed ticket for one of Swift's shows at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, for instance, will currently run you at least $668 on StubHub, and some seats are listed as high as $9,900. Aside from astronomical prices on legitimate secondary marketplaces, ticket scams are common when it comes to frenzy-inspiring events and concerts, according to the nonprofit Better Business Bureau. Dubious online sellers are known to take advantage of digital-only ticket sales, especially when the competition for seats is this fierce.
Taylor Swift tickets: How to avoid scams
Make sure you’re protected before you proceed on your journey to catch T-Swizzle in the flesh. Here are some tips to help you avoid scammers — and what to do if you are victimized.
Know your rights
Before you hit purchase, make sure you’re familiar with your rights as a ticket buyer. The NATB has a handy guide explaining your entitlements, like your right to “a full refund based on the issuer’s policy, if the ticket is refused or invalidated, or if the event is canceled.”
The NATB also has a list of 10 basic principles for buying tickets to a Taylor Swift concert or any entertainment or sporting event. Tips like “do not buy on an unsecured website” are particularly important to remember.
Purchase from the venue or legitimate sellers
The guy selling tickets on Craigslist or outside MetLife Stadium is not your friend, according to the NATB. Always know who you’re buying your tickets from, and buy directly from the venue or its licensed ticket provider whenever possible. You can look up ticket sellers and brokers on BBB.org to see customer reviews of companies and sometimes smaller individual sellers. To ensure the seller is a NATB member, look them up on VerifiedTicketSource.com.
Look out for phishing
A tell-tale sign that a site is trustworthy is the lock symbol in the web address, which indicates a secure purchasing system, according to the BBB. So don’t go clicking links in emails or online ads preying on your Google search history — those alleged cheap “Eras” floor seats suddenly showing up on your webpages are, in fact, too good to be true.
Many scam email and web ads will create addresses similar to a well-known brand. If you’re getting messages from an unfamiliar sender, that’s a sure sign something is phishy. Ticketmaster and other sites sometimes have guides on how to avoid phishing — attempts by cybercriminals to pose as legitimate companies to steal sensitive consumer information — including lists of known fraudulent senders. Always be sure to report phishing to the company.
Read the refund policy
Not reading the fine print can come back to bite you. Trustworthy sellers should always lay out clear details on the terms and conditions of your purchase, and they should always disclose the location of your seats before you buy.
If the tickets you’re buying aren’t immediately accessible to you, the seller should provide reliable and specific information on when your tickets will ship or when and where you can pick them up. Keep in mind that these guarantees are built in on marketplaces like StubHub, so if you purchase a ticket that turns out to be counterfeit there, the company will replace it with an equal or better seat for free.
Use protected payment methods
Read: Do not pay with cash, debit card or wire transfer. When you use a credit card, you have some backup if you end up getting ripped off. But if you buy bogus tickets in greenbacks, you won’t be seeing Taylor Swift or getting any money back.
While it's risky, a lot of fans tend to use Twitter for ticket trading. Buyers who partake in this would be wise to use PayPal Goods and Services, which can provide a layer of protection for certain online transactions. Often, just the threat of potentially facing consequences — or the knowledge that they're dealing with an experienced buyer — deters scammers.
How to report ticket scams
“If you see something, say something” applies to ticket scams, too. There are multiple ways you can hold bad actors accountable if you get ripped off. The best way to tell if physical tickets you purchased are legitimate is to contact customer service at the venue where the concert is being held. Otherwise, most concert tickets nowadays are transferred through Ticketmaster, AXS, SeatGeek, and the like, which work to prevent fakes.
BBB Scam Tracker allows you to research and report scams. If you purchased fake tickets from a scalper in person, you can file a local police report (again, it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back, so buying tickets this way is highly discouraged).
Complaints about tickets that are purchased online but never received can be filed with state consumer protection offices. The Federal Trade Commission's Online Complaint Assistant can also help you if this is the case.
Scam tickets purchased with a credit card or other protected method give you the best chance of getting your money back and putting fraudsters on companies’ radars. File a complaint with your credit card company, and you may be able to have the transaction reversed or canceled.