2024 NFL draft in Detroit is prime time for scammers hawking fake tickets: What to know (2024)

All you need to know about scammers during the NFL draft this week in Detroit is: They've got a nose for the ball.

Thousands of football fans are likely to suddenly realize that they don't want to miss out on a chance of a lifetime to go to the 2024 draft in Detroit on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And many are going to start hunting online for tickets at the last minute.

“Unsuspecting fans could pay money for a ticket that was otherwise free or spend hundreds, or even thousands, on what turns out to be a phony screenshot of a ticket that doesn't exist or has previously been sold,” according to an alert issued by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Getting into the NFL Draft Experience is free, even with kids

It's free to get into the NFL Draft Experience. You'd register for free entry by downloading the NFL OnePass app or going to NFL.com/DraftAccess. Adults can register up to five children to get into the event. And yes, you can still register. The NFL draft 2024 website notes that fans without a smart phone will be able to register on site via the NFL's fan services staff.

You'd use the same QR code during all three days. But it's important to understand that the event is "first come first serve and subject to capacity limits," according to the NFL.

2024 NFL draft in Detroit is prime time for scammers hawking fake tickets: What to know (1)

The NFL OnePass, for example, will get you access to the Corner Ballpark as part of the festivities in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood on Thursday, Friday and Saturday where there will be screens to watch the NFL draft on NFL Network. The Corner Ballpark serves as hub for youth activities during the draft, and the old historic Tiger Stadium site will offer an extension of activities a few miles away at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park.

Paying for premium seating already sold out will cost you big-time

The NFL OnePass QR code will not get you seating in the draft theater where football prospects will be selected to their new teams. Official premium draft ticket packages for the 2024 NFL draft are sold out, according to the On Location site linked via NFL.com/draft on Monday morning.

And tickets for the Detroit Lions Loyal Member Exclusive Draft Party on Thursday, which were priced at $25 a ticket, are sold out, too. The event wasn't open to the general public. It is not affiliated with the "NFL Draft presented by Bud Light" and does not offer access to the NFL draft event at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park. (A big draw might have been that parking was available for $40 per spot with purchase of these member-only tickets.)

Given that we're late in the game here when it comes to tickets — and that premium NFL draft tickets are sold out via the official site — you can bet that scammers will craft ways to rip off consumers, as they did with Taylor Swift tickets in the summer and Detroit Lions playoffs tickets in January.

Michigan's Nessel warns that bad actors often use a variety of tactics, including asking potential victims to send money through a payment or money app.

Run, don't walk, away from ticket sellers who want your money via Apple Pay, Cash App, Circle Pay, Facebook Payments, Google Pay, PayPal, Square Cash, Zelle, and Venmo. The same is true if a seller asks you to pay them with gift cards or go to a Bitcoin ATM.

You'll lose your money instantly once it's transferred electronically, and you won't get any tickets.

More:Your guide to 2024 NFL draft in Detroit: Registration, map, parking, things to do and more

More:2024 NFL draft: How Detroit's historic Corktown will fit into the festivities

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Unfortunately, social media platforms make it even easier for con artists to connect with eager fans.

"You can never be too safe when it comes to where and who you’re buying tickets from," according to a warning about scams posted on Ticketmaster blog.

These days, the blog noted, fans can "experience the letdown of arriving at an event, only to find out their tickets are counterfeit, whether they purchased them from someone claiming to have legitimate tickets for sale on social media or third-party sites or unofficial marketplaces like Craigslist."

It's essential to be skeptical about buying tickets from individual sellers, social media, third-party online exchanges, auction sites or bulletin boards.

When ticket demand is hot, as it could be with a much-hyped event like the NFL draft, the potential losses to scammers could be significant — especially when you consider previous ticket scams.

A Troy resident, for example, reported on March 29 that he bought concert tickets from someone selling the tickets via a Facebook group. He paid $800 via Zelle for two tickets. "When he did not receive the tickets," the Troy police report noted, "the victim contacted the seller and was told he needed to pay an additional $100 per ticket to have the names changed" on the tickets.

The man didn't pay another $200.

Instead, the man then asked for his money back, telling the seller he no longer wanted the tickets. "The victim later discovered the supposed seller’s Facebook account had been hacked and the ticket sale had been a scam," according to the police report.

Ticket scams, in general, tend to trigger a median loss of $268, based on Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker reports from January 2021 through March 2024. The losses involved 451 reports from consumers in the United States and Canada about event ticket scams during that time. Not all scams are reported, though, so the dollars lost could be higher.

As of late March, many tickets for some premium packages for NFL draft events were already sold out but others were available then. Some legitimate premium packages that were available in late March had started $550 a person and others started at $950 a person.

When it comes to free tickets, some people might get caught if they try to snag tickets for specific time slots or events, as happened during the 2021 NFL draft in Cleveland.

"Even though passes to the NFL Draft Experience were free, tickets for many of the time slots went quickly and then people tried to scalp tickets or, worse, sell counterfeit tickets," recalled Teresa Murray, who lives in Cleveland and directs the Consumer Watchdog office for U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Ticket scams, of course, aren't the only way consumers can be ripped off.

It's also wise to be on the lookout for fake merchandise during the NFL draft in Detroit, such as counterfeit jerseys, hats and other gear. Look carefully at the stitching and lettering. Are the numbers laying flat or bubbling? Fake merchandise will not have holograms that one associates with NFL merchandise. Country of origin labels can have misspelled words.

When it comes to ticket scams, consider these tips:

Do your research before you buy an NFL draft ticket

If you are unfamiliar with a particular ticket vendor, Nessel's alert noted, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 877-765-8388 and ask about complaints on file regarding that seller. Also take time to look for complaints elsewhere online, including the Better Business Bureau national web site.

"Remember, however, that the absence of filed complaints does not guarantee a seller's legitimacy; it simply means that we have not received any complaints concerning the vendor," the Michigan Attorney General warns.

Don't believe everything you see on the web

Remember, anyone can set up a "spoof" website with a web address that is similar to the legitimate ticket seller's address, Nessel warned. These "spoof" websites may offer consumers overpriced or counterfeit tickets and expose them to identity theft.

And here's a big penalty flag

Fans must take a step back and seriously question stories about sudden availability or prices that are too good to be true. And if it looks like someone you know is selling tickets via Facebook or another platform, reach out in another way to confirm that the seller is the real deal.

Contactpersonal finance columnist Susan Tompor:stompor@freepress.com.Follow her on X (Twitter)@tompor.

2024 NFL draft in Detroit is prime time for scammers hawking fake tickets: What to know (2024)


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