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Good Question: Are My Concert Tickets Real?

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — From major league sporting events to those must-see concerts, tickets nowadays are little more than a mouse click away. So, how do you know if a ticket is real?

On Lizzi Kongsvik’s kitchen counter, she’s working her laptop trying to find a pair of concert tickets at a price she can afford.

“I’m looking for Taylor Swift tickets,” said Kongsvik, who is a college student. “I’ve always been a big fan of hers.”

On Tuesday, country star Taylor Swift kicks off back-to-back nights at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. Kongsvik wants to go, but she’s on a tight budget.

“I don’t want to purchase $100 tickets that when I get to the concert they don’t scan and I don’t get in,” said Kongsvik.

However, that’s the gamble many of us take after buying tickets from private sellers on eBay, Craigslist or perhaps from a “scalper” out on the streets.

How does one know when a ticket is legit?

“My best advice is buyer beware,” cautioned Xcel Marketing Manager, Kelly McGrath.

McGrath says that outside of buying directly from the box office or through a ticketing partner like Ticketmaster, there are no guarantees. Cash transactions are impossible to trace and leave the buyer with little to no recourse.

“A ticket that’s purchased in any other manner, we have no way of guaranteeing that that ticket is valid,” McGrath said.

At Minneapolis ticket broker, TicketKing, manager Michael Nowakowski admitted, “it could be the last ticket in the world and I wouldn’t buy a ‘ticketfast’ ticket.”

He’s referring to the kind of electronic or e-mailed ticket that allows a buyer to print from a home computer. They are great for convenience and last minute ticket buying, but can be a real gamble if you are buying one second-hand. That’s because they are easily duplicated by unscrupulous sellers.

TicketKing buys and resells tens of thousands of tickets to all kinds of events, but Nowakowski says the broker will only do business with the real thing.

“Try not to buy a ticket that isn’t a traditional ticket stock,” Nowakowski said.

That’s because there is far less chance the ticket is phony since it actually looks like one, and not just a barcode on a sheet of white paper.

Now, Kongsvik is taking her search a step further. She’s now demanding proof. She is asking sellers to text her a photo of not only the actual tickets for sale, but also the original buyer’s receipt. It’s just another bit of comfort to make sure that ticket to the concert is worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

“I’m a poor college student and I can’t afford to lose $100,” she said.

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