Beware of fake tickets, merchandise at Final Four

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Final Four is an exciting time for Indy businesses, sports fans and scam artists.

IMPD officers will be keeping an eye out for those selling fake tickets or fake merchandise. But you can protect yourself from fraudulent vendors by knowing what to look for.

You’ll have plenty to choose from in your search for a souvenir of Final Four Weekend. Licensed vendors outside of Lucas Oil Stadium and throughout downtown carry official NCAA merchandise. An NCAA hologram sticker proves it’s authentic.

It might be more expensive than unlicensed merchandise, but vendors say it’s worth it.

“The products are inferior. when you wash them they fade out and you’re not really supporting the NCAA. Because everything here, part of it goes to the NCAA and it supports the teams here,” said Louis Melendez, a merchandise retailer.

And if you want to support the teams here from inside the stadium, make sure to use caution when buying your ticket.

While it’s easy for counterfeiters to make a copy of a ticket, they can’t replicate the real-thing. Experts say look for watermarks and be warned: the bar codes on each ticket can only be used once.

IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn offers some advice

“If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is and that’s what we always tell people,” said Wilburn.

Or that cheap seat could leave you wandering outside the gate at tip-off.

If you choose to purchase tickets from a third-party vendor:

  • Use your credit card because you have a better chance of getting your money back in the event of a scam
  • Check for spelling errors, and that the date and time of the game is correct.
  • If you’re buying from a scalper, ask to have the ticket scanned at the gate first to prove it’s real.
  • Your best bet: go through the NCAA’s official portal.