How Thunder fans can avoid scams when purchasing NBA Finals tickets

TULSA - The hottest ticket in town is for the NBA Finals and scammers are taking advantage.
Tickets for the games in Oklahoma City can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Officials say the bigger the event, the more chances of being scammed.

"You want to support your team, you're excited that our one professional sports team is in the finals so you want to go," said Thunder fan Tom Leibrandt. "But then again, the tickets are very expensive because they're very hard to get a hold of."

Leibrandt searched online for several days trying to get his hands on tickets to Game 1 and more than once ran into possible scams while combing sites like Craigslist and eBay.

Knowing the red flags helped keep Leibrandt from falling for a scam.

Officials with the Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau have several tips to keep in mind.

"Do not deal with strangers online that are asking you to transfer money into an account or wire them money," said Rick Brinkley, Chief Operating Officer with the Tulsa Better Business Bureau. "I can almost guarantee you, 100 percent of the time that is going to be a scam."

Another tip: Don't assume your transaction is insured.

"Make sure you've got some kind of verification that they are going to be able to guarantee the validity of those tickets and refund you're money if they are proven to be forged tickets," Brinkley said.

Officials say Craigslist can be home to the most offenders.

"People can just put anything they want to on there, not verifiable," Brinkley said.

Oklahoma City Police filed one report where a woman bought fake tickets on Craigslist, but officials say many times the crime goes unreported.

"If you lose your money, it doesn't matter what the Thunder does," Brinkley said. " At the end of the day you're the one who actually lost."

As for Leibrandt -- even though he did use Craigslist -- he also made it to the game.

"He sent them the tickets before we sent them a dime and the tickets were good," he said. "We enjoyed the game and we made our final transaction to him this morning and everybody's happy."

Officials say there's not much recourse even if you do report this type of crime, which means it's up to buyers to beware.

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