ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Tuesday night’s Wild playoff game at the Xcel Energy Center is sold out, and plenty of people bought their tickets at the last minute.
But more and more, there are reports of people selling counterfeit tickets online and in person.
Last week, just before the Wild played Game 4 against the Blackhawks, four couples showed up at the Xcel Energy Center holding tickets they’d purchased from a man on Craigslist.
They were turned away at the gates, and when they went to the box office, they discovered they had all bought counterfeit tickets for the same two seats.
St. Paul Police say it’s fine to buy tickets online, but you have to make sure you are working with a legitimate ticket exchange website.
They do not recommend going through Craigslist and connecting with strangers to buy tickets.
It’s easy to become a victim of fraud, and difficult for police to track down the thieves.
“You have to take precautions during this time,” said Sgt. Paul Paulos.
He says high-quality printers and copiers are making it easy for scammers to produce what look like real tickets.
“The only way you are going to tell how most of these tickets are real actually is if you go to the event, they scan you in, and at that point in time, you find out they are not real,” Paulos said.
One of the people who was scammed last week said he arranged to meet the Craigslist seller at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near the stadium to pick up the tickets and pay for them in cash.
He had no idea they were invalid.
“The one precaution you can take is buy from a trusted friend, a trusted venue — Ticket King, StubHub, something of that nature,” Paulos said. “But Craigslist, I’d say you are taking a big chance.”
Police say there are legitimate ticket sellers on the street who have a peddler’s license, and can sell you real tickets right before an event.
Still, they encourage you to ask to see an ID before you pay, and get an email and a phone number from the seller.
“We are going to be seeing who’s who downtown this evening because of the complaints we’ve had on this,” Paulos said. ‘We are taking a very pro-active approach to this.”
He added that there will be undercover officers as well as officers in uniform watching the crowd closely, looking for people making illegal ticket sales.