Police, ticket resellers warn against online scams ahead of Chiefs playoff appearance

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- It might be the Kansas City metro's hottest ticket since the Royals won the World Series.

Tickets are in steep demand for Sunday's Kansas City Chiefs playoffs game against the Houston Texans. But at least one metro police department reported fans are falling for an online ticket scam, one that involves fake digital ticket transfers.

Those online ads from private sellers are tempting.

Some of them, according to police, are fakes, including those offering Chiefs-Texans playoff tickets at unheard-of discounts. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are filled with those ads.

On Tuesday, the Prairie Village Police Department warned that two people have fallen for the scam, one of whom sent an online seller $500 for the five tickets he promised.

Police said those tickets didn't come, and there's no way to get that money back.

Prairie Village Police Det. Caroline Van Sil said the scammer in at least one of those cases refused to meet the buyers in person. Each time, the crook used a spoofing site, communicating with the victims using a fake phone number.

"Some of the things people offer over the phone or online sound great, and sound like something that person may need at that time. I see why people fall for it, but if it feels too good to be true, it probably is," Van Sil said.

Van Sil said that even with mobile ticketing apps, buyers should trust only credible sellers. Purchases from untrusted third party parties are risky.

Adam Rossbach, a vice-president of sales with Tickets for Less, an authorized ticket resale agency in Overland Park, is selling legitimate Chiefs tickets as quickly as his 41 employees can answer the phone.

"We're extremely busy. The Chiefs drive a lot of that," Rossbach said. "It's one of those times where it's all hands on deck."

Rossbach said he advises online ticket buyers not to accept screenshots of tickets or printed tickets either. Rossbach said any printed ticket is no longer valid via the National Football League.

He said buying from a credible ticket agency, which may seem expensive at first, will cost less in the long run by avoiding scams.

"You're always going to mitigate your risk and reduce a risky situation or a potential risky situation," Rossbach said.

The NFL's ticketing practices went fully mobile this year. Rossbach said he expects other sports leagues will do that soon and eliminate paper tickets completely.

Rossbach said he also recommends ticket buyers should trust only agencies that require buyers and sellers to establish accounts with that reseller. He said those companies will see that safe ticket transfer is sent via email, and buyers are a lot less likely to lose before the game begins.

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