As the Minnesota Wild get closer to hosting their first home playoff game on Monday, demand for tickets is increasing — and scammers are getting more sophisticated.
St. Paul police and Wild officials said Friday that counterfeit tickets are on the rise, and they encouraged fans to be vigilant when buying tickets.
"This is the No. 1 show that everybody wants to go to," St. Paul police Sgt. Paul Paulos said of the upcoming games. "It's the talk. After winning [Thursday] night, there's even more excitement."
For the first two home games on Monday and Wednesday, there are more than 1,200 seats available for purchase, according to Christopher Turns, director of ticket operations for the Wild.
You may be able to tell the difference between a counterfeit ticket and a real one. Fake Wild tickets are printed on a glossy cardstock. Real ones are thermal tickets. "The text [on thermal tickets] comes up from the heat inside the printers," Turns said. "So if you leave it on the dash of your car in the sun, the whole ticket will turn black. And a glossy cardstock, it's not going to have that ink inside of it to do that."
A fake ticket has no embedded ink inside, and it bears no watermark.
In order to make sure you have a valid ticket, follow these tips.
1) Go to wild.com or ticketmaster.com.
Wild.com is your best source and the safest way to purchase Wild tickets. Ticketmaster is Wild's primary partner for tickets and it's your best bet if you want to buy tickets online. If you buy a ticket online through Ticketmaster, it will send you an electronic copy to print out. Stay out of Craigslist, police and Wild officials said.
2) Buy tickets from the venue.
If you are at the Xcel Energy Center, go to the Wild office or buy tickets from people you know. Police said scammers will be out on the streets; therefore, police will have extra patrols at the venue, looking for violators.
3) Buy from a licensed peddler.
If you decide to take a chance and purchase a ticket from a peddler, make sure he or she displays a name, license number and expiration date. "When you don't buy from a reputable [seller], you are taking a chance, you are rolling the dice, you are hoping that that ticket is real," Paulos said.
4) Beware of search engines.
Secondary ticket sellers will pay more money to have their ads listed higher in search engines like Google than the Wild or Ticketmaster websites. This can lure people to click on searches that offer discounted tickets.
"Anything that's calling out something like that, it would be a red flag to me," Turns said. "I would be really leery of buying anything from there because you just don't know what you are going to wind up getting."
5) Watch the game from the comfort of your home.
The stadium can only hold many people. If you can't buy a ticket or can't go to the game, watch it live on Fox Sports North.
Paulos recommended: "Stay within the rules and have a great time, and go wild."