Sibbach Team on the News – Scammers Looking to Cash in on Final Four Fans

With thousands of fans coming to Phoenix this weekend for the Final Four at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium, Phil Sexton shares with Arizona’s Family News that scammers are not only out there with fake tickets, but homeowners are also at risk of being scammed when renting out their home.

Stay Alert: Beware of Final Four Scams

Phil Sexton on AZ Family News

From Arizona’s Family News – Tens of thousands of fans are expected to flock to Phoenix this weekend for the Final Four at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium and there are many ways scammers are looking to cash in on the excitement.

“You are a target,” said Paul Keener of GuidePoint Security. “There are a lot of scams and they are all out after your money.”

Keener said in this digital age, sports bettors beware.

“We say don’t make decisions in periods of great emotion. There’s nothing more emotional than the Final Four, right? So, be careful about that and have the site that you’re going to go to place the bet ready to go before you have to make that bet,” he said.

He points out AI has changed the game to trick you and get your money.

“They send these AI generated emails that draw them to illegitimate sites where they can place bets that look real. They send the money there, they’re seeing all the same data, except that none of it comes back to them,” he said.

Keener said to be wary of public Wi-Fi at major events like the Final Four because it can make your private information vulnerable.

Ticket scams are another problem during March Madness. According to USAA, more than 150 fake tickets were reported last year.

“You want to make sure your tickets real. Nine times out of 10 like even if they’re giving you a low price, you still may be out of, you know, $49, $69 in an illegitimate ticket,” said Jasmine Hill of the Better Business Bureau.

She said it’s always a good idea to check in with the BBB if you have any concerns. There’s even a Scam Tracker on their website. Hill encourages fans to look for verified sellers and ask questions before you buy.

“You want to stay off of those Craigslists, those Facebook Marketplaces,” said Hill. “What’s the price? Do you know where you’ll be sitting? Are there any seats listed there? What is their refund policy?”

If you’re a homeowner looking to rent your place out to cash in on the big crowds, Valley realtor Phil Sexton said that can also be risky.

“What renters take advantage of are more like destroying properties and so obviously a security deposit can help with that and background checks,” said Sexton.

He said if you don’t have an established account with reviews on sites like Airbnb, it’s vital you show prospective renters you’re the real deal.

“It’s important that you offer the ability to Zoom or do a FaceTime call with the tenants, so that they can see that you’re for real and you can show them the property,” said Sexton.

Here are tips from Airbnb:

  • We are not aware of any scams relating to Airbnb bookings and the Final Four weekend.

  • We recommend that guests and hosts keep communication and payments on the Airbnb platform. We display warnings across the site to stay on Airbnb to communicate, book and pay for a trip. We also provide information on why it’s important. You can read more here – https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/209

  • To help hosts provide great experiences for guests and ensure stays run smoothly, we offer tools, resources and best practice guidance in our Responsible Hosting hub and in our Host Resource Center, with topics spanning home safety to accessibility to being a good neighbor. You can read more: https://www.airbnb.com/help/topic/1272and https://www.airbnb.com/resources/hosting-homes.

  • To help set expectations for potential guests, hosts can add house rules to their listing page covering the dos and don’ts of staying in their place e.g. neighborhood quiet hours, whether pets are welcome or if certain areas are off-limits. You can read more here- https://www.airbnb.com/resources/hosting-homes/a/setting-helpful-house-rules-21

  • Hosts can get to know a potential guest before accepting a booking by checking their profile and reading reviews of them from past hosts, and can use our secure messaging tool to ask questions and set expectations before a guest’s stay.

  • New hosts also have the option to require that their first guest is an experienced guest. Read more here – https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/3320

  • In the rare event of an issue, hosts on Airbnb have access to our 24/7 global community support, and protections like AirCover for Hosts. Read more here- https://www.airbnb.com/aircover-for-hosts

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