CLEVELAND — So many fans are fired up about the MLB All-Star Festivities in Cleveland right now. However, some criminals are counting on that and will try to capture your cash.
"Counterfeiting is a real issue and we treat it as a real issue,” said Ethan Orlinsky from Major League Baseball. He tracks all of that especially at big events like the All-Star Game. "We're working undercover with law enforcement officials throughout Cleveland as well as on the federal level to address the counterfeiting issue,” Orlinsky told us.
There have been many headlines about other sporting events where millions at a time are stolen from innocent fans just like you. When it comes to tickets, there won't be any them printed for the 2019 All-Star Game. It's all digital.
"Our whole mantra is fan first,” said Adam Budelli from Stubhub. When you Google ‘All-Star Tickets,’ there are many vendors that come up. However, the Indians posted a warning for fans on Indians.com that reads "only tickets sold and purchased through Indians.com and Stubhub will be guaranteed Progressive Field access..." "Never purchase tickets in cash or off the street where if something does happen, there's really no recourse," said Orlinsky.
Stubhub told us demand for tickets is strong. The average price is nearly $650 which is slightly higher than past years. With that kind of money floating around, you need to protect your purchase when showing off your tickets.
"Make sure that if you do share that ticket ahead of time, you cover that barcode. That allows fraudsters to take screen grabs and try to replicate that," Orlinsky told us.
Then there will be vendors trying to push their products. Orlinsky said the official MLB gear will have a unique, alpha-numeric hologram on it. So, if you see the same sequence of numbers and letters on another product, it's fake. Plus, there will be raised red stitching on the real holograms. “Not only can you see that the item is legitimate, but you can touch the hologram and see that it is legitimate as well,” said Orlinsky.
If you're down at the events, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams suggested you take action if you see something that's not quite right.
"If there's something going on out there, grab a uniformed officer, let them know," said Chief Williams.
Just realize criminals know fans are excited for all things All-Star Game.
"People who are coming here to prey on the innocent victims are going to try and take advantage of that, whether it's by selling them something because a fan wants to make an impulse purchase, or they want to go to the event and try and sell them a bogus ticket” said Orlinsky.
Major League Baseball has a hotline for anything you might find suspicious during the event. It's 800-TEL-CAPS. That's 800-835-2277.