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Avoid getting scalped

Page 2

While Page 2 in no way condones (wink, wink) breaking the law when you purchase tickets to a game or concert, here are some scalping hints as we head toward fall and the prime sports schedule:

Super Bowl tickets
Examine those tickets closely to make sure they're not counterfeit.
  • Always check the ticket office just before the event. Participants/organizers occasionally turn back tickets just before the event, and these are often the best seats in the house.

  • Be patient. Don't be alarmed by claims in newspaper stories that scalpers are getting $1,000 a ticket for seats behind Bob Uecker. This is just standard scalper hype designed to drive up the price in the days leading up to an event. Like promises from your broker, they bear little resemblence to economic reality.

    Don't panic. The closer to game time, the itchier the scalper gets and the lower the price falls. Remember, you might really want to buy that ticket, but the scalper wants to sell it even more. Once the game is over, the ticket is worthless.

    Of course, that won't help you either, if you spent the game across the street at a sports bar.

  • Concentrate on fans going to the game who need to dump a ticket because a companion didn't show. These people are often your best bet for a cheap seat. They aren't looking to gouge you, they just want to get rid of an extra ticket and get inside as quickly as possible.

  • Don't trust the scalper any further than you can smell him -- carry a seating chart. That way you can verify the ticket location.

    It's your own fault if you buy a ticket you were told is a box seat behind home plate, when it's actually a standing-room-only spot behind the port-a-johns in the parking lot. If you can't know your scalper, at least know your venue.

  • Examine the tickets closely. Ticket counterfeiting is increasingly sophisticated, and the one true danger buying from a scalper.

    Tickets that are scanned at the gate rather than torn also carry potential risks on the resale market. You just have to deal with it. If you aren't willing to accept this small risk, quit your job and pitch your tent at the stadium when the line first forms for tickets.

    Jim Caple is a senior writer for

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  • all hail scalpers! 

    Caple: In praise of ticket scalpers

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