Panthers Fans Out Hundreds of Dollars after Buying Fake Tickets Online and On the Street

It's a first in franchise history. The Carolina Panthers are undefeated with an impressive 6 and 0.

Police say scammers are riding that wave and stealing from people here in Charlotte by selling counterfeit tickets online and on the street.

"It was three tickets at 150 dollars each for lower level which was the face value on the ticket. I don't expect to see that money again. I guess I got burnt," said Stephen McQueen.

McQueen says he came all the way from his home in Hickory to see the panthers play this past Sunday.

He says he bought this ticket off Craig’s list. It looked real, but didn't work when he tried to get into the game.

"It was very disappointing. It wasn't just me. I was in line with these other people and you wouldn't believe the heartache. Parents who bought tickets then then had to tell their kid you can't take them to the game," said McQueen.

They weren't alone. According to the Better Business Bureau of Charlotte, there were more complaints about fake tickets this past Panthers game than all prior games combined.

"One guy was pickpocketed and his tickets were stolen from him. We had other reports of counterfeit tickets being sold by the scalpers," said Tom Bartholomy with the BBB.

He says to steer clear of people selling tickets on the streets as well as websites - like Craigslist - that won't help you get your money back.

"Reputable sites come with guarantees. If it turns out to be a fake ticket, you're going to get your money back. Stubhub takes it a step further. They have a representative at the game. If your ticket ends up being counterfeit, they'll buy another ticket on the spot to get you into the game," said Bartholomy.

Also, if you like to post a picture of your ticket on social media, the BBB says to cover the serial number so that scammers can't copy it and print off fake tickets.

CMPD suggests things you can do to avoid being victimized:

  • The single most important thing is to buy tickets only from a reputable vendor.  Do not purchase tickets from someone you do not know or from an online source that is not validated by the Carolina Panthers or the NFL.
  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department does not recommend purchasing tickets from unknown individuals or other sources under any circumstances. 

If you still want to risk buying from someone you do not know, you can take these steps:

  • Ask the seller for identification and record his or her information.
  • Write down where the seller is standing and any direction of travel.
  • Write down a clothing description.
  • Take a photo of the seller with your cell phone.
  • Call the stadium ticket office to verify the serial numbers on the tickets before purchasing them.