A Simple Guide to Buying and Selling Tickets on Craigslist


Craigslist, the popular online marketplace, is a great way to buy or sell virtually anything. From something as large as a house to something as small as can be, it’s all there for the asking. There are two types of ticket sellers on Craigslist–Ticket Vendors and Private Sellers. Many people, who find they have purchased tickets, but find they cannot actually use them, go to Craigslist to sell them. Often, there are eager honest, buyers who are looking for a great deal on a sold-out event.

The one thing buyer and sellers need to know is how to separate a real deal on tickets from a scam, as there are plenty of con artist out there. One of the most popular scams involve tickets to concerts and sporting events. For the smart buyer and seller, taking precautions won’t guarantee that you will never be scammed, but it may greatly reduce the likelihood of being on the receiving end of a con.

Here are some tips to help you spot the honest Craiglist users from the scammers.

Sellers, Beware the Sob Story

You post tickets for sale on Craigslist and soon you get a contact. The person is local but does not want to meet. They suggest a drop place instead or that you mail them to a PO Box. They ask if they call you instead of emailing or texting, which is a good idea in most Craigslist transactions Once on the phone, however, he or she then begins to cry or tell an emotional story about an uncle who always wanted to see a certain sports team or a teen with a dying wish to go to a Taylor Swift concert. They ask if you will donate instead of selling them your tickets to make that person’s dreams come true. You have to wonder why they contacted you, a Craigslist seller instead of a foundation like Make a Wish? They try to make you feel like a bad person for not giving your tickets away, meanwhile, this person would just love to have those free tickets—to scalp outside of the concert hall.

Buyers: Verify, Verify

So you think you are getting a super deal on tickets to a sporting event? Bring your phone with you to a meeting in a public place. Ask to see the tickets. Then call the venue with the serial numbers to see if they are valid. Check the date on the ticket. Also, look at the font printing on the ticket, does anything seem amiss? Is anything misspelled? Is the paper like a real ticket or does it feel more like printer paper from a discount store? If it’s a real ticket, the seller won’t mind you calling to verify its authenticity.

Questions Buyers Should Ask

It isn’t too nosy to ask why someone is giving up tickets to the Superbowl or another mega-popular event? If they give a silly answer like “I’m getting married that day and I forgot when I bought the tickets from my future father-in-law,” something is weird. If it’s a normal response like “I can’t go because I’ll be away on business” or something reasonable it might be okay. Ask if you can see a receipt proving that they bought the tickets. You would not want to buy tickets picked out of a mugging victim’s stolen wallet.

Choose a Public Place For Meeting, Don’t Go Alone

Beware of the seller or buyers who strangely suggests and odd time or place for the transaction. A deserted street at night, the back of a bar or convenience store, or a stranger’s home might be included in their ideas. They may say they work the night shift and can meet you before they go on duty, or say they are caring for a homebound relative and insist you visit their home–alone—as Mother doesn’t like a lot of visitors. If they want to meet near a secluded 24 hour ATM at night so it’s easy for you to withdraw the money to pay them, or for them to pay you, it may be a setup for robbery.

Your Tickets Are Being Held at The Venue Scam

The seller does not hand you the tickets but claims that they will be at the box office or venue on the evening of the event. That way, you won’t have to wait in line to have your ticket processed like the “regular folks in the cheap seats”, If questioned, they remind you that all the best people in New York or Vegas or wherever don’t carry around tickets, they just give their name and go on through to Broadway Shows and Vegas Attractions. Still, you are not a VIP that can enter with just your name via the stage door, you are just visiting from out of town, so you would like some real tickets.

Buyers and Sellers Beware the Price Flex

The buyer might be asking you to take your ad down from Craigslist as they will pay double the asking price. The seller offers tickets at a lowball offer too good to be true. Either way, this should set off alarm bells. No one wants to pay that much over asking, especially when you see other sellers with the same tickets that you have to offer in the same listings for a reasonable price. If you take down the ad, the seller might then change his or her mind, pay with a rubber check, or try to pay you with Paypal. Once they have the tickets in hand, they may dispute the transaction and get their money back. Also, sellers who are trying to unload tickets well in advance at rock bottom price may be suspect too. If the tickets are fake or stolen, they don’t mind if you pay less than the going rate.

Buyers Don’t Use MoneyGrams or GreenDot Cards

If a seller asks you to get a one-time use credit card or send a MoneyGram for payment, be wary. If the seller wants you to send postage or other fees via wired money before you get the tickets, don’t do this either.


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