Boston police and the federal Homeland Security Investigations agency are warning Celtics fans looking to buy tickets to Game 3 and subsequent games of the NBA Finals to only make purchases from official ticket brokers, cautioning that other parties offering tickets may in fact be hawking phony ones.
The Boston Police Department on Tuesday posted a statement about counterfeit ticket scams to its official website Tuesday, one day before the Celtics take on the Golden State Warriors in a pivotal Game 3 matchup at TD Garden. The best-of-seven championship series is currently tied at 1-1.
“The Boston Police would like to take this opportunity to remind fans to be wary of counterfeits when purchasing tickets for the upcoming NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Golden State Warriors,” the statement said. “The BPD encourages fans to only buy tickets from authorized ticket agencies. Fans who purchase tickets from a secondary source are taking a chance and do so at the buyer’s own risk.”
Police said they hope to “proactively curb” fraudsters by encouraging buyers “to only purchase from official vendors.”
Going farther afield could be dicey, cops continued.
“Purchasing via other means creates the potential for possessing an invalid and/or counterfeit ticket,” the statement said.
Authorities also are urging members of the public to contact police if they become aware of a fraudulent seller.
“Individuals wishing to provide information anonymously may do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS or texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463),” the statement said. “Individuals wishing to provide information anonymously are reminded that the Boston Police Department is only interested in the information you provide, not who you are.”
Boston Police Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesman, said police are “getting a lot of reports” of phony sales, though a specific number wasn’t available Wednesday.
“We just want to get it out there and raise as much public awareness as we can,” Boyle said. “You’re taking a major chance going through a secondary source” other than an official broker.
The Celtics host the Warriors Wednesday and Friday nights at 9 p.m.
The BPD warning was echoed by Homeland Security Investigations, which said in a statement on June 3 that fans should beware of “counterfeiters attempting to sell unauthorized, knock-off products and tickets.”
“Criminals have been known to exploit fan enthusiasm during major sporting events by selling counterfeit jerseys, hats and other sports related merchandise to unsuspecting consumers,” said Jim Mancuso, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, in the feds’ statement. “Fans who spend their hard-earned money can rest assured the IPR Center and its partners are working around the clock to ensure they are getting only genuine, high-quality officially licensed NBA merchandise.”
The statement from HSI also included an appeal from Ayala Deutsch, the NBA’s executive vice president and deputy general counsel.
“In San Francisco, Boston and beyond, counterfeiters take advantage of consumers who want genuine, quality NBA merchandise and tickets – and take away from their overall NBA Finals experience,” Deutsch said. “Fans deserve memories and authentic mementos that last. At the NBA Finals, like all NBA events, we’re implementing our extensive anti-counterfeiting program to help protect both fans and legitimate, tax-paying retailers from being victimized.”