Are My Tickets Fake? How to Spot and Stop Invalid Tickets

Nov 18, 2016


Angela Bunt

The ticket industry is changing, and more and more venues are turning to mobile transfer tickets, making print tickets nearly nonexistent. But with this uncharted territory comes questions: “Why haven’t I received my tickets?” “How do I know SeatGeek is reliable?” and most commonly, “Is my ticket fake?” 

Although fake tickets are often a customer’s main concern when purchasing from the secondary market, fewer than one percent of orders are subject to fraud. The reason is: sellers don’t make any money when they sell fake tickets. In fact, they lose money! 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Keep reading to get the 101 on what makes a ticket invalid, what to do if you purchase an invalid ticket and how to avoid them altogether. 

Can I trust SeatGeek with my tickets?

So, you might be thinking, “I know SeatGeek is legit, but Is SeatGeek trustworthy? Yes! You can 100% trust SeatGeek with your tickets. Here’s why:

The secondary market consists of various ticket sellers, including licensed ticket brokers and fans like yourself. SeatGeek requires that all sellers abide by any given laws, regulations, and ordinances, as well as our Ticket Policy, to ensure our customers receive legitimate tickets.

Many of SeatGeek’s tickets come from primary market clients and partners, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Cavaliers, who trust SeatGeek to provide buyers with a top-of-the-line ticketing experience. SeatGeek also recently partnered with Paciolan, the largest ticketing company in college athletics, further increasing our reach and legitimacy. 

If you’re still not convinced that SeatGeek is legit, we offer our customers a Buyers Guarantee, which protects fans by guaranteeing on-time delivery of valid tickets, full refunds to canceled shows and the option to sell or repurpose tickets for postponed events. If you’d like to learn more about SeatGeek’s Buyer Guarantee – check out this article

How do tickets become invalid?

Your tickets should never be faulty or invalid, as SeatGeek works day in and day out to ensure we catch any mistakes before they have a chance to hit your inbox. Despite our best efforts, we understand this is still a major concern for most customers branching away from the traditional box office. 

It should be mentioned that when we say “invalid ticket,” what we’re really talking about is the barcode on the ticket that gets scanned upon entering an event. There are only two reasons this would be invalid.

  1. The broker inadvertently sold it twice.For instance, a seller might try to list the same ticket on SeatGeek and UberSeat. If the ticket sells on both sites and the seller does not take action, the second person to enter the event will be denied entry. SeatGeek does not take this lightly and asks sellers to agree not to list their inventory across sites. If sellers violate these terms, they will be penalized, and your ticket will be refunded. 

  2. You bought from an unreliable source.If you’re buying a Super Bowl ticket for $20.00, odds are it’s fake. Always avoid scalper tickets when possible, and use a legitimate vendor like SeatGeek, which offers Buyer Guarantees to avoid mishaps. 

Oftentimes, tickets may appear invalid, but may very well not be. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying tickets. 

  1. Presenting your tickets in the correct format is necessary for seamless entry! Some venues only accept paper tickets, whereas others may only accept mobile tickets. Be sure to check on this before your event. 

  2. Make sure the brightness on your phone is turned all the way up when presenting a mobile ticket. 

  3. Allow time for mobile ticket barcodes to populate on your e-tickets. This often occurs 1 week or 24 hours before the event. (more on this below)

On the off chance that you have received an invalid ticket from SeatGeek, our Help Center is more than happy to assist. You can also check out our FAQ on where to find your tickets and what to do if your tickets aren’t working

How do I know my tickets from SeatGeek are legit?

In case our partnerships and Buyers Guarantee still haven’t convinced you that SeatGeek is reliable, here are some insider tips and best practices for buying tickets from SeatGeek. We think they’re pretty legit, and we think you will too.

Deal Score

If you’re looking for the best deals on the best tickets – you can use our Deal Score to narrow down your search. The algorithm groups tickets by value rather than price, making it easy to find high-quality seat locations with no obstructed views for a guaranteed low price. Tickets are assigned a Deal Score (1-10), with 10 being the best possible deal. You can read more about the Deal Score feature here

Include Fees 

SeatGeek offers an Include Fees toggle button that you can use to apply all additional fees to the listing prices. This allows you to browse for your tickets at full cost and avoid any surprises at checkout. 

Mobile Transfer Tickets

Most venues in this day and age use mobile transfers, also known as paperless tickets, because it is more secure than your traditional print-at-home method (and far more convenient). 

Mobile transfer tickets are usually delivered via an email or link from a third-party app, such as the team or venue’s preferred ticketing platform.

Keep in mind that most mobile transfer tickets will not be available immediately. In fact, many venues don’t release their ticket barcodes until 24 hours before the event. This isn’t to stress you out but to ensure you receive the valid ticket you paid for. 

Pro Tip: If it’s getting close to the event and you haven’t received your tickets, check your promotion, junk and spam folders with the subject line “Your Ticket Transfer Offer.” You can also reach out to customer support for confirmation. 

Check out our help center for detailed advice on mobile transfer tickets

Download E-Tickets in Advance 

Don’t wait until you’re in line for the event to download your e-ticket. Once it gets sent to your email (usually right after purchase or at least one week before the event), download it, review it, and make sure it looks accurate. 

Pro Tip: Don’t freak out if the ticket does not have your name on it. Most tickets purchased from sites such as SeatGeek will not have your name on them. This is because they are often purchased and then re-sold to SeatGeek. The name printed on a ticket does NOT have to be yours to enter the venue.

Call The Venue

Although the venue won’t be able to tell if your barcode is valid or not, they can confirm the section, seat number and show start time for you. If you review your ticket and are suspicious of its details, this may be a good option.

Still have questions? Check out our list of helpful FAQs, or create an account with SeatGeek for personalized help!