Troubleshooter: Be on the lookout for counterfeit sports apparel, tickets

March Madness is an exciting time for basketball fans, but if you are planning to buy tickets to one of the games or purchase any sports apparel to support your team, you'll want to make sure you don't get scammed.

Raleigh Police issued a counterfeit ticket scam warning after arresting 21-year-old Timothy Sumer.

Detectives charged Sumer with seven counts of obtaining property by false pretense, 12 counts of attempted obtaining property by false pretense and 19 counts of criminal use of a counterfeit trademark in connection with selling fraudulent tickets for various sporting and entertainment events in the area.

If you're looking for tickets to the ACC Tournament or any of the March Madness games, Alyssa Gutierrez from the BBB of Eastern North Carolina said to make sure you check out the seller.

If you're not buying directly from the school or Ticketmaster, look up the company on BBB and check to see if they are part of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. If so, she said they must follow a strict code of ethics including a 200 percent money back guarantee in the case you don't get a real ticket. She also said to be wary of pop-up and social media ads.

"There are a lot of advertisements that can be misleading or potentially scams so just really think about it before you click on those advertisements and purchase your tickets," Gutierrez said.

If a price sounds too good to be true, it may be.

Before finalizing your purchase, read the fine print. "What is your seat number, what is your refund policy," Gutierrez said to ask. "How are you going to get this ticket? Are you going to pick up at will call or is it going to be sent to you in an email?"

It's not just tickets to watch out for- be on the lookout for counterfeit jerseys and apparel. During the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte last month, authorities seized several counterfeit shirts.



North Carolina's Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said when buying gear, look closely at the stitching and pay attention to the details.

"It's intended to look like the licensing hologram, but it's not," Marshall said, pointing to the patch on the corner.

When buying either tickets or apparel, the best way to protect yourself is to pay with a credit card, which has the best fraud protection.

Debit cards, cash, or wire transfers typically make it harder to get your money back.
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