JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Multiple people reported buying fake tickets to the Jacksonville Jaguars game on Sunday, including one local man who said he was cheated out of $200 when he bought three tickets from a scalper.
Chris Whalen said he went to the Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday and planned to buy the tickets from a scalper, something he said he has done several times in the past. It wasn't until all three tickets rang up with a "X" in the ticket line when he knew he'd been scammed.
"She took the tickets, went to the back and said there is nothing we can do, and confiscated them," Whalen said. "That’s a game I’ve been waiting for too, I’ve been waiting for that Seahawks game!"
Whalen was hoping to celebrate his birthday in the stadium, but he never made it in.
"My parents gave me that money for my birthday," he said. "It was the third or fourth time I’ve done it, it seemed pretty normal, it was Ticketmaster, it listed the seat, the barcode, the date."
He told an officer when the tickets didn’t work, but they never found the culprit. The officer told him to hold off paying until he was actually through the gate, if there is a next time, and to ask the scalper to follow them to the gate to make sure it works first.
Ticket broker Michael Levin said to ask for a website, an office location, a form of identification or any kind of verification to make sure they’re reputable and to have a name to refer back to if needed.
"Ask them for their ID, if they don’t want to show it to you, then there is a problem," Levin said.
He recommends buying a ticket straight from the venue or from a licensed ticket broker. You can always verify the broker is reputable by checking them out online and through the Better Business Bureau.
Levin also warns that selling tickets can be just as risky.
"The counterfeiting industry, you know they come down for these big games, print off hundreds and hundreds of tickets, they take unsuspecting people, they sell them these tickets, they take their money and then they will go buy real tickets from fans and give them fake money," he said.
He said online can be even more deceiving.
"The worst, the worst, there are so many counterfeit tickets on Craigslist," he said. "Never wire anyone money. If they won’t meet you it’s fake."
This season, the Jaguars told First Coast News the option to print a ticket as a PDF is no longer available via Ticketmaster, so if someone attempts to sell you a PDF ticket, it’s likely counterfeit.
If you want to purchase a last-minute ticket on game day or verify it’s validity, you can go to the North End Zone ticket office between Gates 2 and 3 before kick-off.
The Jaguars are allowing entry to EverBank Field using only a hard ticket or a mobile ticket accessed via the new official Jaguars app. Mobile ticketing reduces the likelihood of counterfeit tickets. Fans can visit www.jaguars.com/mytickets for detailed instructions on managing tickets via a mobile device.
In response to what happened Jaguars Public Relations tells First Coast News:
"We’re sorry to hear about the fan’s experience. The Jaguars strongly encourage fans to purchase tickets ONLY from verified providers including our Jaguars ticket sales office (904-633-2000), Ticketmaster and NFL Ticket Exchange. Those are the only outlets that can guarantee your tickets are real.
We always do our best to accommodate guests, but cannot guarantee accommodations for tickets purchased on unofficial sites such as Craigslist. We encourage fans to make smart, savvy choices by seeking out tickets for in-demand games via verified outlets that provide guarantees."