When it comes to buying Broadway tickets on the secondary ticket market in New York City, there are a number of ticket scams that you should watch out for. Our report " Top 10 Broadway Ticket Scams" can help you avoid many of the pitfalls. This report applies mostly to the top Broadway shows - as, the hotter the show, the more ticket fraud is attempted. Amazingly, stolen Broadway tickets didn't even make it into our top 10 list of deceptions because it was less prevalent than other more sophisticated hustles. Obviously you should still watch out for stolen tickets though as they do exist, as do sales with stolen credit cards. Remember, if you forgo the secondary ticket market altogether and buy your Broadway tickets through the normal and direct channels (e.g. Theatre Box Office, TicketMaster or Telecharge), they guarantee that your tickets will be legitimate and you will experience no problems.
1. Fake Tickets
The most egregious form of a Broadway ticket scam is the fake ticket. Many ways exist to create a fake ticket but a common way is to use Adobe Photoshop to stick a good side of a ticket (The Broadway show name,date and location) with a bad side (A different barcode and seat number) and printing out what looks like a perfect ticket on card stock. Only when you take the ticket to the Broadway theatre and they scan it does the true crime reveal itself. The sale of these type of tickets is often perpetrated on Craiglist.org, which is a shame because we are big fans of this web site. More often than not, the criminal will ask for a check, cash, or money order be sent to an address and they send the fake ticket back (Sometimes the don't even bother sending the fake ticket). Although, the advantage of them sending a fake ticket back is that it buys them more time before you find out that it was a fraud. We obviously recommend against using Craiglist.org for Broadway ticket purchases. The reason why Craiglist.org is the primary site for this kind of fraud is because the web site lacks any credibility controls for the seller (i.e. feedback, sales history, etc.). Other sites like eBay and Stubhub do offer this as a minimum control, but its still no guarantee against fraud or embarrassment at the door of the Broadway show.
2. Duplicated Tickets - Lost Tickets Scam
Because legitimate customers sometimes misplace their tickets prior to the performance, the box office or ticket agent is able to rectify the situation by issuing a new set of tickets for the same seats. A criminal can use this policy to his advantage by purchasing a pair of tickets, and then later telling the ticket agent that he has misplaced them so that a duplicate set of tickets will be sent to him. This can be done a few times over, with each set of tickets being sold to some unsuspecting person, usually via a website like Craigslist. This means that when the ticket holders turn up at the Broadway theater, the first person in with the duplicated ticket will be successful, but then each one after that will be denied - because only one set of tickets will actually work.
3. Duplicated Tickets - Ticket Broker Error
It is normal practice for ticket brokers to try to sell the same Broadway ticket on many online forums. If they actually sell the ticket in one place, they must remember to remove it from the other forums - the problem is, sometimes they forget. As a result, only the first person who turns up at the Broadway theatre with the duplicate ticket will be successful, while each one after will be denied. E-Tickets with an email confirmation make this situation even worse as now there is no original and the email can be printed out numerous times. Obviously most reputable ticket brokers will refund your purchase price when you tell them what happened, but your night at a Broadway show is ruined (Not forgetting the embarrassment at the door too).
4. Virtual Tickets (E-mail Confirmations) are Replacing Physical Tickets
The success of the Internet has meant that the days of "Broadway tickets in hand" are fast disappearing, with many Broadway tickets taking the form of a confirmation e-mail printed out on a sheet of paper. Now that Broadway theaters are scanning rather than tearing tickets, a physical ticket isn't necessary - they just need the bar code. As a result of this new technology, e-mail tickets have become popular. Ticket vendors like them because it is less work and expense for them - no more mailing costs, and the customers even provide their own paper to print out the confirmation. It is preferable for the customer too, because he no longer has to wonder if the tickets will arrive in the mail in time. The customer also gets to avoid the lengthy Will Call line at the theater box office, instead taking his e-mail confirmation right up to the person scanning tickets. But though these "virtual tickets" offer convenience all around, they also bring greater opportunity for fraud. An unscrupulous person can buy tickets to a Broadway show, get the e-mail confirmation, and then print out and sell multiple copies of it to unsuspecting ticket buyers. When these people begin arriving at the theater, only the first person to present one of these e-mails to be scanned will be able to get in - the others will be denied. Because there is no way to ensure that e-mail confirmation tickets purchased from a third party are unique, we would advise you never to buy these kinds of "tickets" unless it is directly from a vendor like Ticketmaster or Telecharge.
5. Partial View Broadway Tickets on eBay
Buying Broadway tickets on eBay can have its advantages, as tickets are obviously more expensive than face value, but less than the price from a ticket broker. However, many eBay Broadway tickets are marked "Partial View" and some eBay ticket sellers will try to scam you by failing to mention that fact - resulting in you bidding on the ticket as if it was a regular priced seat, when in fact it originally cost a lot less. Bear in mind, your Broadway experience may be quite different in one of these seats, so before bidding on eBay, you should ask the seller point blank if the ticket is Partial View (and hopefully he'll answer truthfully)..
6. Ticket Resellers Advertise A Ticket For Sale That They Don't Actually Own
Ticket brokers often advertise a ticket for sale that they don't actually have - They use a "dummy" seat location and If they happen to make the ticket sale, they will chase around to get a comparable ticket and hope that they priced the ticket high enough in the first place to make a substantial profit on it. A good way to avoid this is to research the Broadway ticket secondary market and know who the reputable ticket brokers are - but to be honest, even the reputable ones do this too.. Another approach would be to never accept a different location to the one that was offered for sale. A third approach is to check that regular tickets aren't actually available.
7. Tickets Bought With Stolen Credit Card And Re-Sold
Identity thieves buy Broadway tickets online with stolen credit cards and then re-sell the tickets. As soon as the person whose credit card was stolen reports it, the illegally-made purchases are all canceled. So once the person who bought the tickets on the secondary market gets to the theater and has his tickets scanned, they come up as invalid. It's an embarrassing situation for the ticket-buyer, who is out the money spent and turned away from the show.
8. Market Manipulation by Ticket Brokers
Ticket brokers buy up Broadway theater tickets at the regular price, only to turn around and sell them to you at a much higher price. They often use sophisticated technology (including buy-bots) to snap up all the ticket inventory before the average theatre-goer has an opportunity to purchase them. Often, the ticket brokers use American Express Gold Card privileges to get to the good tickets before anyone else. The ticket brokers aren't offering you much of a service, since you could have just as easily bought the tickets for face value through Ticketmaster or Telecharge if the broker hadn't snagged them first. Because Broadway Theatres are small, ticket brokers are sometimes even able to manipulate the Broadway ticket market by buying all the ticket inventory, often charging outlandish prices for Orchestra seats on Saturday nights near any holiday. They can charge whatever they want, especially if they own all the tickets for the show that night - the ticket brokers become the "Market Maker" for that particular performance. There doesn't seem to be much you can do to counter this problem, other than choose a different show or a different night - It has become clear that top Broadway shows, non-premium Orchestra & Front Mezzanine seats, on Saturday nights near any holiday is their filet mignon.
9. Ticket Scalper or Ticket Broker Sells You Two Tickets, But The Seats Aren't Together
Everybody knows that buying from a ticket scalper or ticket broker usually means you're going to be paying much more than the face value of the ticket, but buying your Broadway tickets from a random person on the street, or over the internet, carries other inherent risks you might not know about it. One danger is that, if you're not paying close attention, they may try to sell you tickets to seats that aren't actually together. One clever scam involves selling you tickets that are sequentially next to each other, like seat 10 and 11, but most Broadway Theatres have odds and evens on different sides of the theatre.
10. Ticket Scalper Sells Ticket For The Wrong Performance
Sometimes scalpers will try to pull a fast one by selling you an unused ticket (most likely one that they weren't able to unload earlier) for a past or future performance of the Broadway show that you want to see. You have to be certain to check both the date and time printed on the ticket you're buying, or else you could find yourself with a matinee ticket for the evening show. By the time the usher points out that your ticket is no good and sends you away, you can bet that the scalper will be long gone.