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Food festivals. Wine and Beer festivals. Music festivals. Art festivals. There is no shortage of ways for consumers to partake in a favorite activity this summer. However, scammers have begun to take advantage of individuals wishing to attend a festival by creating phony websites and “selling” tickets to events that don’t actually exist.

So how can consumers tell if a festival is legit or not?  The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission offer the following advice:

festival-scam

  • Research the event. Similar to charity scams, scammers often create similar sounding names to real events or organizations. Even a search on the internet can provide insight into the legitimacy of an event.
  • Check the contact information. If you can’t get in touch with a representative, that’s a red flag.
  • Review the website. Festival organizers are typically running a business—the website should be professional, free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
  • Compare prices with similar events. If the prices are strikingly different, you should be wary.
  • Check with the venue or local city/town where the event is supposedly going to be held. Most events require a permit of some sort and book locations in advance. If permits haven’t been pulled and the venue hasn’t heard of the event, it’s likely fake.

 

As a rule, you should always purchase tickets for these types of events with a credit card and only use secure sites. The Fair Credit Billing act provides protections against billing errors and allows consumers to dispute certain charges. If you pay with a debit card, getting your money back can be a challenge.

 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education.

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