CINCINNATI, Ohio (Nov. 5, 2015) – A traffic stop helped police unearth a dozens of fake NFL tickets worth thousands of dollars for Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals games.
According to investigators from Ohio’s Hamilton County, two men were stopped on Interstate 74 Wednesday for a traffic violation. A narcotics K9 alerted officers to the possibility of drugs in the vehicle, and a search turned up drug paraphernalia as well as counterfeit NFL tickets and parking passes.
Police said the tickets were for Thursday night’s sold-out Cincinnati Bengals game against the Cleveland Browns and Sunday’s game featuring the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. Investigators said the tickets, had they been valid, had a face value of more than $8,000.
The men, identified as Glenn Poindexter, 45, of New York, and Bruce Suares, 45, of New Jersey, had fake Bengals tickets priced at $145 and fake Colts tickets priced at $104. Police said tickets for both games could’ve commanded much more than face value. The Bengals game is sold out, and the Colts game features the return of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
"It is scary how creative and how accurate these tickets look,” Mike Robison, a spokesperson for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, told FOX19. "We're lucky to have caught them the way we did, and put them out of business, hopefully."
“We believe they were coming in to town, so hopefully we caught them before they were able to do any damage. But again, you have no idea the extent of a scheme like this,” Robison said.
Poindexter and Suares face charges of criminal simulation and forgery. They were taken to the Hamilton County Justice Center.
While selling fake tickets is not a new scam, thieves are becoming more sophisticated in trying to get your money.
So how can you tell if your tickets are counterfeit?
“Usually the guys counterfeiting the tickets don’t want to sell them to the public because the public’s going to get into the game,” said Mike Peduto of Circle City Tickets. “So, they sell them to one of the guys reselling and then before a person can even go in and then that guys usually left holding the bag.”
There are ways to protect yourself from ending up with a counterfeit ticket. First, know what the original face value of the ticket is. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Second, be wary of who sells you an e-ticket because knowing the source of the ticket is critical for a safe sale. Last, don’t take photos of your tickets and post online, because thieves can easily replicate those photos and use them as tickets.
“I’d be very leery of any really good seats that are Ticketmaster seats,” said Peduto. “Are there some that are legit? Yeah, but not many because most of the seats in the very best areas are season ticket holders.”
Larry Hall, vice president of Ticket Operations for the Colts, says there is “no silver bullet” for knowing if your ticket is counterfeit, but he advises knowing the source of your tickets. If you are going to use the secondary market, he encourages using the Colts Ticket Exchange, which is a state verified way to buy and sell tickets.