How to avoid fake Vikings tickets at Sunday's home opener

The team's second game of the season, last weekend in Chicago.
The team's second game of the season, last weekend in Chicago.

Come Sunday, the area around the Metrodome will sprout a temporary economy: the Vikings fans hunting for last-minute tickets to the day's home opener, the scalpers jockeying to sell to them, and the scammers looking to split the difference.

"If it's something dishonest, it's been tried," says Dan Hendrickson of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, which issued a warning to fans to be on the lookout for fake tickets on Sunday. "There's a lot of excitement before the home opener, people have been waiting for it all year, and we're worried that the excitement may override some of their better instincts."

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Ticket counterfeiters are clever. They've been caught with all three varieties of Vikings tickets -- season, single game, and Ticketmaster -- and their scams range from the over-eager amateur with a good printer, to the anonymous guy hawking non-existent tickets online, to the re-seller of tickets to a game that happened last weekend.

"We see all types," writes team spokesperson Jeff Anderson in an email. "Tickets with the wrong stadium, date, opponent or price point. Multiple tickets with the same seat assignments, multiple hard copies of print-at-home email tickets, etc."

And if the price seems too good to be true, Anderson adds, it probably is.

To ensure real seats in the Metrodome, Hendrickson advises double-checking all the details printed on the ticket, comparing the seat assignment with the stadium map, and even requesting to see the seller's I.D. Types of tickets that are more likely to be fake: Ticketmaster tickets (there are fewer of them) and printed-out e-tickets.

"It's worth taking an extra second to look at those tickets and look at the person you're buying them from," says Hendrickson. "If they're shifting and looking a little jumpy, it may be a good idea to hand those tickets back and look elsewhere."

The good news is that, as of now, there's no need to turn to the scalpers at all. The Cleveland Browns returned a few hundred tickets to Sunday's game, which means you can still score seats by calling up the Vikings ticket office.

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