CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina is warning fans to be cautious about where they buy tickets for the NCAA men's basketball tournament games being held in Charlotte.
Tom Bartholomy, president of the local BBB branch, said he knew to send out a warning as soon as the bracket for the tournament was revealed.
"We knew the demand was going to spike and spike quickly. Between having the number one team in the country (University of Virginia) play here and having the Tar Heels play here, it's going to be off the charts," explained Bartholomy.
Dozens of tickets for games being played in Charlotte are already being sold on websites like Craigslist. Bartholomy said that prospective buyers should be cautious about buying tickets on the secondary market.
"Scammers can pounce very quickly. They're watching what teams are going where and where they need to concentrate their resources to take advantage of the situation," said Bartholomy.
He said the NCAA tournament tickets would be unique in that they won't have specific team names on printed on them, but will reflect when and where the games are being played. He said scammers have become skilled when it comes to replicating the real tickets.
"You can get lucky and get a good deal on some tickets but there's also a better chance that you can get taken," warned Bartholomy.
He recommends buying tickets from reputable vendors like StubHub or through the NCAA's website.
He said fans could also try purchasing tickets through the venue to ensure authenticity. The BBB also recommends that customers pay attention to the seller's refund policy and use payment methods that come with protection.
"It really comes down to not letting your heart take over your head," said Bartholomy.
He said that the last time the opening round of the tournament was held in Charlotte the BBB saw some tickets being sold for as much as $500 a piece. He cautions buyers to be wary of a price that seems too good to be true.