Fans warned of counterfeit Lakers tickets

LOS ANGELES If you're looking for tickets at the box office at Staples Center, you're not going to find them, because the NBA finals are sold out. Yet officials don't want you out looking for the next scalper because they say more often than not, what you're going to end up with is a bogus ticket

For Lakers fans it's the hottest ticket in town.

One guy outside Staples Center Wednesday afternoon was trying to sell a ticket in front of the box office. He was asking $200 for his ticket. He claimed it's what he paid for it.

"I have an extra seat, I have an extra seat," said the seller. "That's all. I want to get my money back."

He didn't want his face shown, saying police are out in full force looking for people like him selling tickets on the street.

Asked if he considered himself a "scalper," he said, "No, I'm a fan. I just got an extra seat."

Does he consider what he's doing illegal?

"I don't know if it's illegal or not," he said. "It's face value and I know there's a demand for them. People are asking for more money than I'm asking."

Is the ticket real? "Absolutely, it's real."

Staples Center spokesperson Michael Roth says fans need to stay clear of people selling tickets on the street.

"You don't know where they got their tickets from," said Roth. "You don't know if they were stolen and already ruined from our system or someone just printed them up and you have no way of going back to them and getting a refund.

"In the finals we're seeing it more and more," continued Roth. "People are selling counterfeit tickets, people are selling counterfeit credentials, and there are so many things built into these tickets that our scanners will find that you're just not going to get in with it."

"It's illegal and you might run into a bogus ticket," said Dion Detroit Thomas, a Lakers fan. "It's not too safe, it's not too smart, and it's not too honest. I'll pay full price, I'll pay whatever in order to get some real Lakers tickets."

Staples Center officials are encouraging people to seek out reputable brokers for hard-to-get tickets.

StubHub, an online marketplace for tickets, has several tickets for the NBA finals, and the company guarantees what you buy is the real deal.

"The buyers know, because of the guarantee that we provide, that their tickets are going to be good, so they can pretty much rest assured that when they get to Staples Center, they know that the tickets will scan in, because if they don't, StubHub will be there to fulfill the order and make sure they're taken care of," said Michael Katz, StubHub.

StubHub officials say tickets on their site for the four Lakers home games are priced 20 percent less than they were for last year's NBA finals. They say the average ticket price this year is between $80-$4,700. Last year during the finals, they were between $149 and $9,000.

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