Scam artists expected to flock to NBA All-Star Weekend

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ALLSTAR SIGNAGE
The NBA advises fans to use the NBA Events app to purchase tickets. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Concert promoter Raleigh Harper said he deletes comments daily on his Facebook posts devoted to NBA All-Star Weekend performances at Broad Ripple’s Vogue music venue.

Harper’s company, Carter Creative Group, is bringing rappers 2 Chainz and Boosie as well as R&B singer Tank to the Vogue for events Friday through Sunday.

He wants people to talk about the events, of course, but he doesn’t want scam artists tempting potential customers with offers that are too good to be true.

“They will say, ‘I have tickets for sale,’” Harper said. “They will tell you, ‘I have two tickets, send over the money.’ But they never send you any ticket.”

NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis is expected to attract basketball fans, music fans and more than its share of people attempting to trick those fans.

“Scammers go where the money is,” said Scott Barnhart, chief counsel and director of consumer protection for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. NBA All-Star Weekend “has a way of attracting attention from folks who are just looking to pull one over on somebody. Don’t think there isn’t an avenue where a scammer might try to take advantage of you,” Barnhart said.

Regarding his events at the Vogue, Harper said fans can’t go wrong by visiting the venue’s website, thevogue.com, or by making an in-person visit to the box office, 6259 N. College Ave., which is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Jenny Boyts is the CEO of Forty5, the company that runs the Vogue and presents summer concert series Rock the Ruins at Holliday Park. She said red flags are evident when people suggest making transactions away from the venue’s official channels.

“You see it in social media, the way these folks quickly drop comments to say, ‘I’m selling tickets’ or ‘I need tickets’ or ‘I have to get rid of tickets,’” Boyts said. “They try to get people off the venue’s official website.”

Last week, popular TikTok restaurant critic Keith Lee posted a video urging Indianapolis restaurants to not pay people who promise access to him. Las Vegas resident Lee, who has more than 15 million TikTok followers, said he’s heading to Indianapolis for NBA All-Star festivities but not to review restaurants.

“Apparently food influencers that live in Indianapolis are going around to restaurants and charging these restaurants a fee and guaranteeing that we’re coming, we will try the food and there’s going to be a line out the door,” Lee said. “That’s not true.”

Regarding NBA events scheduled at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, fans hoping to attend should seek tickets through the NBA Events app or at ticketmaster.com, according to Joey Graziano, the NBA’s head of global event strategy and development.

“We worked really hard to make sure that events that are official NBA All-Star are designated as so and they have the words ‘NBA All-Star’ as part of their title,” Graziano said. “I would encourage our fans to ask questions about events that don’t fit that mold and to use their best judgment at all times.”

Barnhart, the consumer protection director, said people should be on alert when reserving short-term home rentals during All-Star Weekend.

“If someone is trying to sell you something and they have zero reviews or zero previous transactions, that’s a negative sign,” Barnhart said.

If someone does fall victim to a scam artist, a consumer complaint can be filed with the attorney general’s office, Barnhart said.

“If you think it’s criminal in nature, you can report to law enforcement, as well,” he said.

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