AUSTIN, Texas — March 8, 2013 — South by Southwest kicks off today, and your Better Business Bureau is warning interactive, music and film fans to be on the lookout for counterfeit badges and wristbands.
Whenever events sell out or buyers try to avoid paying high ticket costs, consumers will often turn to third-party websites. BBB typically receives complaints after big events, with some ticket buyers alleging they did not receive their passes on time, did not receive them at all, or in some cases were sold counterfeits. BBB urges consumers to be cautious in this case.
BBB has these tips to help fans protect themselves financially:
- Do your research. Know the going rate for the badge or wristband you’re after, and avoid offers that are deeply discounted or highly inflated. You should buy badges and wristbands directly from sxsw.com.
- Avoid wiring money. Be wary when using wire services for payment, because once you pay your money transfers instantly. The recipient is untraceable and you won’t be able to get your money back. Also,avoid having your tickets mailed. Arrange to pick them up in a public place in person.
- Verify its authenticity. BBB recommends you verify the legitimacy of the badges and wristbands before you pay. Ask for a receipt. Look at the badge or wristband and compare it to a verified one. If something looks different, or if a seller claims they don’t actually have the badge in hand, walk away.
And if you’re planning to use a mobile device to surf the internet while at the festival, here are some tips to keep your smart phone safe:
- Lock your phone. Add a security code to your phone to prevent thieves from accessing your data. Then set your device to lock automatically when not in use for a specified time.
- Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi. If you choose to connect to an unsecured or public Wi-Fi network, do not enter passwords or access any personal information.
- Beware of unknown apps and links. During SXSW, businesses might promote their apps for you to download. BBB advises you avoid downloading apps without first researching the source. They may contain viruses, malware or spyware that can compromise your personal data.