In conjunction with the organizers of the World Cup, the Federal Trade Commission is warning soccer fans that they could become victims of scams. In some cases, Web sites that offer tickets for sale are run by con artists who don’t really have tickets. In other cases, consumers buy “tickets” and travel to the World Soccer Cup site only to learn that the tickets they purchased are counterfeit. Other Web sites may offer packages that provide hotels, transportation and tickets - but they don’t actually have the tickets, at all.
According to the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), a group of consumer protection agencies from around the world including the FTC, consumers can take several steps to avoid ticket sales scams for major sports events. They should:
- Check with the event organizer, promoter, or venue where the event will be held to learn how and when tickets are being sold. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has specific procedures for distributing and validating tickets to the 2010 World Cup. More information about those procedures is at fifa.com.
- Be aware that the official logo and trademarks (or look-a-likes) of the event can be imitated to try to convince you that a bogus website, or ticket, is official.
- Read what others say about the seller. Search the Internet to find out about other people's experiences.
- Be skeptical of sites that say they "guarantee" tickets. Some companies sell package deals without having the tickets in hand. Even if the seller intends to get the tickets later, they may not be able to.
- Always print a copy of your order for your files.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free,
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available for more than 1700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.