DENVER (KDVR) — Ticket experts are reminding buyers ahead of the NBA Finals in Denver that right now is the perfect time for scammers to take advantage of ticket buyers.

“It means people like me will do next to anything to get tickets to that game,” Danny Katz, executive director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, said.    

Katz said first and foremost, across the board, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. He said that plays both into the costs of tickets and websites or availability.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of people who want to go to this game and there won’t be enough seats for all of us,” Katz said. He also has some defense advice for ticket buyers.

“If you have a ticket don’t take a picture of it,” Katz said.

If you take a photo of your ticket, Katz said, scammers can get the QR code and any other information needed to make a counterfeit ticket and then get into the game before you.

Another ticket expert, Jeff Wolfe, the vice president of fraud operations for USAA, sent tips to FOX31.

“You’re not out shopping for tickets and someone’s out marketing tickets to you. I think that’s a pretty big red flag. Scammers don’t need to fool everybody. They just need to fool enough people to make it worth their time,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said pretty much anyone can fall vulnerable.

“I would love to be able to say there’s a narrow band of ages that are really impacted. But the reality is, lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds and walks of life can fall for these scams,” Wolfe said.

Katz said it’s also important to only buy tickets from people you know and never pay with Venmo or PayPal. He said it is safest to pay with a credit card so you are better protected.

“We definitely see a lot more scammers use social media to learn about their victims. That’s a method that fraudsters will use to try and build comfort or familiarity, get their victims to feel more safe as they make that transaction,” Wolfe shared.

Katz said another tip is to double-check the websites and do your research. He said to check for spelling and make sure it’s a website that has been around for a while.

“Google the website and then type in the word ‘fraud’ and see what shows up,” Katz said.

Katz said unfortunately if you do get scammed, the best thing you can do is report the scammer to the Attorney General’s Office.

6 tips to avoid ticket scams

USAA shared the following information:

  1. Verify the ticket seller
    • Use websites like to verify that it is a registered ticket reseller. Always use protected payment methods. That means no paying with cash, debit or wire transfer.
  2. Beware of phishing scams
    • Phishing scams via text or email can be convincing, using official-looking Ticketmaster or StubHub logos and return email addresses. Clicking the scam could add malicious software to your device and allow the scammer to track your online activity.
  3. Buying off Facebook? Take a second look
    • Check their profile and see how recently their account was made. If it was made in the last month, most likely, they are a scammer. If they have very few posts, this is also a red flag.
  4. No pals on PayPal
    • Never send funds as “Friends and Family” on PayPal. Always send as “Goods and Services.” You have a better chance at disputing the purchase with this option and it is covered under the PayPal Purchase Protection.
    • Money transfer services like Venmo and Zelle do not have payment protection options if you do not receive your tickets, so stick to using those services for friends and family.
  5. Seller outside the gate? Not worth the headache.
    • There will be plenty of people selling physical tickets outside the concert gates, but there is no way to verify the legitimacy of these tickets. Don’t fall for waving hands and a paper ticket.
  6. Too good to be true
    • if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Slow down, take time and do your research. Scammers use a sense of urgency to lure you into bad deals. It is best to go through a verified reseller like Ticketmaster or StubHub to ensure you’re not getting scammed.

Lastly, if you have been scammed. Report the fraud to your bank immediately and add it to the BBB Scam Tracker.