BBB warns of potential ticket scams for Elton John, Lollapalooza

The Better Business Bureau is warning people in the market for tickets to Sir Elton John and Lollapalooza to look out for potential scams.

John is set to visit Soldier Field on Aug. 5 as part of his farewell stadium tour while Lollapalooza returns to Chicago from July 28-31 for the summer music festival's annual residency in Grant Park.

Tickets and packages for both events are priced at thousands of dollars.


The secondary-ticket market includes many sellers who may not be licensed, so buyers should do their research before parting with large sums of money, BBB Chicago and Northern Illinois President Steve J. Bernas said in a statement.

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"By being pro-active and alert to fraudsters, fans can reduce their risk of spoiling their concert experience," Bernas said. "You don’t want to show up at the gate after waiting months and paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars only to find out your ticket is fake. Not only are consumers at risk, but this type of fraud takes away money from legitimate businesses involved in the entertainment industry."

Tickets are often found in unregulated online auctions, online classifieds or bulletin boards using person-to-person sales, according to the BBB.

The BBB is offering the following tips to avoid ticket-sale scams:

Tip-offs to the Rip-offs

  • Fake websites will offer tickets at low prices to trick people into entering their credit card info. Scammers can then use your credit card to purchase big-ticket items. You never receive your ticket.
  • Counterfeit tickets with forged barcodes look very professional with a copy and pasted logo of the actual ticket company. When you arrive at the concert, you are shocked they won’t let you in.
  • Scammers prey on high pressure to make fast sales knowing people are desperate to see the show.
  • Fraudsters will copy and paste an actual ticket and then "sell" it to many purchasers, all of whom get a surprise at the gate when they learn the ticket is not valid.
  • Some ticket brokers will offer better prices than the competition but charge excessive fees on the final page for ticket handling.

What to do in advance

  • Buy tickets at the box office or from the venue’s official online ticket sales site and be careful because imitation sites can show up first in internet searches.
  • Do not purchase tickets or ticket packages sold on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other free online listings. Never wire money.
  • Avoid clicking on emails from online ads.
  • Know the refund policy if the event is canceled.
  • Use a credit card to purchase tickets and ticket packages. That way, you have recourse if there is something amiss.
  • Only deal with secure websites. These will begin with "HTTPS" and have a "lock" symbol on the address bar.