Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Consumer Alert on Sports Ticket Scams Targeting Super Bowl Fans

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to Californians regarding potential sports ticket scams targeting consumers attending the Super Bowl and related events.  As part of her commitment to modernizing government as well as better serving the visually impaired, Attorney General Harris has also released the first in a series of radio stories on consumer issues across the state.  This feature includes a fan’s perspective plus information and tips from the California Department of Justice, StubHub, Fan Freedom, and the Better Business Bureau, to avoid becoming the victim of a ticket scam.

Radio Story (5:00):  Listen on SoundCloud             

Public Service Announcement (0:30):  Listen on SoundCloud         

Many Californians are no doubt eager to purchase tickets to Super Bowl 50, which will take place on February 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  The demand for Super Bowl tickets far exceeds the supply.  In light of this, scam artists take advantage of sports enthusiasts by selling counterfeit, void, or stolen tickets.  The Attorney General reminds Californians to purchase tickets through legitimate sellers in order to protect their personal information and ensure the authenticity of their tickets.

Regardless of the sporting event, consumers should be aware that purchasing tickets from individual, third-party sellers could also subject them to identity theft and fraud.  Consumers who purchase tickets online based on classified ads could have their personal information misused.  Additionally, those who buy sports tickets from unguaranteed sources may receive invalid tickets, may not receive tickets on time, or may receive tickets for a different event.  Legitimate ticket resellers typically guarantee that sports tickets are authentic and clearly describe how refunds are handled.  And in the event you are the victim of a ticket scam, even if you do receive a refund from the seller or your credit card company for the cost of the ticket, you may still be stuck with airfare and hotel costs.  This consumer alert offers tips for safeguarding consumers from sports ticket scams. 

What to look out for

The Attorney General offers California consumers the following tips in order to avoid falling victim to sports ticket scams:

  • Consumers should attempt to purchase sports tickets from official sources, such as, or other official ticket providers, in order to protect themselves from sports ticket scams.
  • Utilize credit cards or a PayPal account when purchasing sports tickets online, in order to ensure that you have an opportunity to challenge the charge if the ticket sale is fraudulent.  Sports ticket sellers who require payment via a prepaid card, or who request the wiring of money, may be engaging in a scam.     
  • When purchasing sports tickets online, consumers should ensure that the web address begins with https://, which means that the site is secure and your credit card and billing information will be protected from being intercepted by a third party. 
  • Research the seller’s reputation by searching online for reviews regarding the seller and any potential consumer complaints regarding prior scams.
  • Purchase from resellers who provide authentic sports tickets.  Look into the reseller’s refund policy, and whether the reseller offers a guarantee regarding the authenticity and timely arrival of the tickets.   
  • §  Be wary of sports tickets that are advertised at a price that is below market value, or that appear to be an unusually good deal.  Scam artists may advertise tickets that they do not possess, and take money from consumers without providing any tickets at all.
  • §  Examine your sports ticket to ensure that the event information is correct, and look out for abnormalities such as illegible text or uneven margins.  Fake tickets may have incorrect information printed on them, and could utilize a photocopied barcode. 
  • Be wary of purchasing sports tickets based on an online classified advertisement.  Avoid providing your credit card information to an unknown person, and meet the seller at a safe location such as a local police station, if you intend to pay the seller in person.    


The NFL provides tips for purchasing a legitimate Super Bowl ticket, and describes How to Tell if Your Super Bowl Ticket is Legit.

The NCAA Reminds Fans Only to Purchase Tickets from Authorized Sources.

For information on Super Bowl 50 and the availability of tickets for the game, please go to Levi’s Stadium Super Bowl 50, and for more details about the event see Super Bowl 50 Frequently Asked Questions. 

What to do if you are the victim of a SPORTS TICKET scam

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers resources for those who have purchased a counterfeit sports ticket.  If you have been a victim of a sports ticket scam, immediately File a Complaint with the BBB.

Finally, the California Department of Justice protects the rights of consumers and collects complaints on sports ticket scams in order to identify patterns of wrongful activity.  To submit a complaint to the California Department of Justice regarding a sports ticket scam, please use one of the following complaint forms:


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