January 24, 2011
Consumer Advisory: football fans cautioned about possible Super Bowl scams
HARRISBURG - Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan cautioned consumers to be wary of potential scams surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl, including bogus sweepstakes offers, "too good to be true" travel packages or game-day ticket offers.
"It is important for football fans to carefully review the details of any ticket offer or travel promotion before handing over cash or credit card information," Ryan said. "Scam artists are counting on the fact that enthusiastic fans will get caught up in the excitement of the Super Bowl and will not be as attentive as they should be."
Ryan said that in past years, Pennsylvania residents have been targeted by scam emails and bogus contests linked to the Super Bowl and other major sporting events. Typically, potential victims are told that they have won tickets to the game and are asked to wire transfer money to a "claims agent" in order to pay for taxes and other fees.
In other scams, Ryan said consumers may receive an authentic looking check - intended to cover some of their expenses - along with instructions to deposit the check and transfer a portion of that money to cover airfare, lodging or other expenses. In reality, criminals have sent a counterfeit check and are counting on the fact that victims will act quickly and send money before their bank notifies them that the check is worthless.
Ryan also encouraged Steelers fans considering a trip to Texas for the game to shop carefully for their travel packages or tickets:
"In past years, our office has received complaints from consumers who have fallen victim to phony travel agents and ticket sellers," Ryan said. "In some of those cases, consumers learned at the gate that their tickets were counterfeit and they were denied entry. In other cases, fans purchased hotel rooms that were inconveniently located or were charged additional fees for services that they thought were included in the package, such as tickets to the game."
Consumers can file complaints by calling the Attorney General's Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or by submitting an online consumer complaint.
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