PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Only 216 miles separate Pittsburgh and Buffalo and with the wild card teams meeting at Heinz Field on Sunday night, demand for tickets is high and so is the risk for fraud.
The Steelers were contacted by a Bills fan after he saw a Craigslist link to what looked like Ticketmaster offering lower level seats for $100 each.
It was the email he got when he inquired that made him reach out to the Steelers.
“Everything seemed really good until that point,” says Heinz Field Communications Manager Nick Sero. “He sent it to us and we were able to verify those are fraudulent tickets.”
Sero certainly understands how someone could get drawn into the offer.
“They have Ticketmaster branding, they offer 24-hour support, they have logos you recognize, sponsorship logos,” he explained. “They are getting as good as they can to trick people into it.”
Sero said the email address ending with “@mail.com” is a major red flag, not to mention the method of payment.
“They want you to buy prepaid gift cards, eBay gift cards, Amazon gift cards that you would scratch off and take a picture of and then send to them,” Sero said.
The site promises guaranteed authentic tickets but Sero said the fan never gets any ticket at all.
“We see Craigslist is the biggest one,” Sero said but he went on to say, “ Facebook Marketplace, any of these third market kind of places that’s where you will be susceptible for fraud.”
Sero says those selling bad tickets are also branching out on game day.
“They are selling tickets off-campus, outside a fast-food restaurant downtown, or blocks away from where the normal selling happens,” he warned.
The Steelers want to point out only the hard stock tickets season ticket holders get, and the electronic tickets with a changing barcode will get you into the game.
Sero said the legitimate electronic ticket can’t be duplicated.
“Every second you’ll see a little blue line crossing the barcode, it’s constantly changing so if someone takes a screenshot and tries to sell that to you it’s not going to work at the gate,” he said.
Neither will any kind of a ticket printout.
Hardstock and electronic only.
There are tickets available on reputable ticket sites like Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Vividseats.
Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. but has been moved to 8:20 p.m.