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3 questions to ask before buying NFL tickets online

Criminals are scheming and trying to trick football fans out of their hard-earned money.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL season is officially here, and the Carolina Panthers are hosting their first home game of the season this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. 

But those looking to buy tickets to the game need to be cautious because criminals are scheming and trying to trick football fans out of their hard-earned money.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

To avoid becoming a victim, The Better Business Bureau recommended asking these three questions before buying tickets from an online reseller

What’s the refund policy?

Ticket buyers need an official guarantee that they will be able to get their money back if the tickets turn out to be fake.

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Is this strictly a reseller of tickets or are they also a vendor of first-issue tickets?

Buying from a vendor who also sells primary, first-issue tickets adds a layer of protection. The BBB said vendors like Ticketmaster and Live Nation will actually create a new ticket specific to the buyer when they purchase from their online reselling platforms. That way buyers don't have to stress that someone else bought the same seats.

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Can I pay with a credit card?

This is perhaps the most important of the questions because using a credit card protects buyers as a consumer and allows them to take action if the tickets they purchase aren’t what they seem. Experts said if a vendor doesn’t accept credit card payments, just find a new vendor.

Tip to avoid becoming a victim of a scam 

  • Emotional appeal - Any pitch that ratchets up your emotion will inhibit your rational judgment. 

  • Sense of urgency - You MUST act now, or else. 

  • Request for unorthodox payment - Gift cards, prepaid credit cards, wire transfers, etc. 

  • Explanations that don't ring trueIf your new “landlord” can’t show you the inside of the house, that could be because they don’t own it. 

  • You won, now pay up - It’s not a prize if you have to pay for it. Taxes, fees, shipping, whatever. 

  • Too good to be true - That’s because it’s not true. Sorry, your long-lost relative didn’t die, leaving you millions. That car you bought online for a third of its Kelly Blue Book value doesn’t really exist. The son of a billionaire diamond broker didn’t “swipe right” on you and fall instantly in love. That work-at-home job paying you hundreds of dollars an hour for stuffing envelopes isn’t real. 

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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