Police: Watch for counterfeit tickets to Panthers' playoff game - | WBTV Charlotte

Police: Watch for counterfeit tickets to Panthers' playoff game

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

If you are hoping to score a ticket to the Panthers playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks - buyer beware. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is warning fans to watch for counterfeit tickets.

"As the Carolina Panthers begin their NFL Playoff run, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department would like to remind the public that purchasing game tickets from non-reputable sources can be a costly and unnecessary risk," police warned Thursday.

“I hate that for everybody that's getting ripped off like that,” said Panthers fan, Jake Williams of Virginia. “I couldn't imagine buying a ticket like that then coming up to the gate and just getting heartbroken like that. I'd probably bust into tears.”

“The best practice is not to purchase from someone you don't know,” said Major Johnny Jennings.

The Panthers have been red-hot this season - with only one loss in the regular season. They earned home field advantage and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The Seattle Seahawks, who won last week, are coming to town to face the Panthers Sunday and with online ticket prices ranging between $160 and $7,300, you might be looking to score a good deal.

Police say the "opportunity exists for criminals to take advantage of fans wanting to participate in the game day experience."

“We don't like seeing fans get turned away. They've spent their hard earned money,” said Jennings, “There's a lot of money that exchanges hands when you start talking multiple tickets and we want to make sure fans are not turned away and they're buying valid tickets so they can get in and watch the football game.”

According police, CMPD takes counterfeiting "seriously," but also faces challenges to locate, arrest, and prosecute offenders.

Things you can do to avoid being victimized:

  • The single most important thing is to buy tickets from a reputable vendor. Ticketmaster is the only ticketing source authorized by the Carolina Panthers. Do not purchase tickets from someone you do not know or from an online source that is not validated by the Carolina Panthers or the NFL.
  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department does not recommend purchasing tickets from unknown individuals or other sources under any circumstances.

If you still want to risk buying from someone you do not know, you can take these steps:

  • Ask the seller for identification and record his or her information.
  • Write down where the seller is standing and any direction of travel.
  • Write down a clothing description.
  • Take a photo of the seller with your cell phone.
  • Ask the seller to walk to the gate with you before you give any money.  Pay only after the tickets have been scanned and verified as valid.
  • Check the Panther’s website to ensure that the section and row on the ticket is actually listed in the stadium seating.

“We've recommended that to people and some people have said that they've had the person selling the ticket walk to the ticket office, the ticket gate with them until that ticket is scanned,” Jennings said.

Or you can watch like the majority of fans and you’ll be guaranteed to see the game.

“Sitting at the house I could watch it there, that's a free ticket,” Williams said.

If you decide to watch the game on a tv near the stadium, police want to remind you the tailgating area is also part of the extraordinary event zone. 

Check the list of things you can’t bring even if you aren’t going inside the stadium.

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