PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Seattle Seahawks fan suffered a big loss before the season even started.
Mary Reynolds of Portland said she lost $1,300 after paying someone who advertised season tickets online. The tickets never arrived.
“It’s hard. You want to trust people. You want to believe people are good out there,” said Reynolds.
Consumer advocates warn football fans to watch out for phony tickets sold online.
“This is something we see every year,” warned Stephen Mayer, Oregon spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau.
Scammers know the season is about to start and tickets are in high demand.
“They know how popular the Seahawks are for the whole region,” said Mayer.
Reynolds is a life-long Seahawks fan. Framed photos from NFL gamedays decorate her Northeast Portland home, while a team flag flies outside.
“We’ve had season tickets for the last two years, so we went to every game,” explained Reynolds.
Previously, she’s purchased Seahawks season tickets on the secondary market though eBay.
“Usually, I just type in season ticket holders and look for a specific section,” said Reynolds. But this year, she tried something new.
Reynolds found an advertisement posted on Craigslist offering Seattle Seahawks season tickets at face value.
She contacted the seller by email. They exchanged messages and arranged a time to speak by phone.
“It all seemed pretty legitimate,” said Reynolds. “They had four seats. Their family has had them forever and they’re just going to be selling off two seats.”
The seller drafted a detailed contract including location of seats and deadline for payment.
Reynolds sent a $1,300 cashier’s check for deposit. She sent the check certified U.S. Mail to a Seattle address.
“They gave me the address to send it to, the name to send it to and the tracking number for it. I had confirmation when it was signed,” said Reynolds.
Bank records show the $1,300 check was cashed but the tickets never arrived.
Reynolds tried to contact the seller by phone and email. He did not respond.
She has since filed a complaint with police, the Federal Trade Commission and contacted the Seahawks.
Reynolds figures it’s a loss. She won’t get her money back.
“I love the Seahawks. I love being up at CenturyLink but it is kind of a hard pill to swallow,” said Reynolds.
To avoid NFL and college football ticket scams, the BBB says fans should pay with a credit card. Don’t pay in cash or wire money. Credit card companies offer protection for consumers if scammed.
Also, football fans should verify the authenticity of tickets. Fans should ask for a copy of the seller’s invoice or receipts.
The BBB suggests consumers shop local for tickets. If possible, meet the seller face-to-face in a safe, public location.
“It’s just so easy these days to rip people off unfortunately,” said Reynolds.