Even the pros are fooled from time to time.

Mark Braveman said it happened to him a couple of years back. Mark bought tickets to a Bon Jovi concert from a source other than the box office or Ticketmaster. When he arrived at the show venue, he was told his tickets were worthless. Since the show was not a sellout at that point, Mark was able to buy real tickets on the spot; but the lesson was a tough one.

“I learned the hard way,” he told me late last week. Mark is the owner of Mark’s Music in Brewer, the official ticket sale site for all Waterfront Concerts at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.

He said people come into his store frequently, saying they bought tickets from a third-party source only to find out later that either the seat noted on the ticket did not exist or that the seller had sold multiple tickets for the same seat.

With more venues in the greater Bangor area, the potential exists for lots of great entertainment … and for more fraud attempts. “If [the seller] is not the box office or the authorized dealer, there’s no guarantee,” Mark cautioned. He noted that there are lots of sources, many sales, and a bunch of deals that are literally too good to be true.

You can find them all over the Internet, their little paid ads turning up when you search for ticket sources. Most urge that you “don’t miss out,” “buy today,” and claim that prices are “slashed for a limited time.” When asked to hurry a purchase, look critically at such ads.

The folks at Mark’s Music have heard from unhappy buyers of electronic tickets. Fraudulent sellers simply emailed multiple tickets for the same seat — or non-existent seats — to anyone they could snag with their promises of deep discounts.

There are similar reports from users of some resale websites, often first stops when buyers can’t find the tickets they want through Ticketmaster. Prices on resale sites are typically higher (often much higher), and some consumers have complained that they have been lured to such sites by misleading ads.

Then there’s jumping the gun. Weeks before Lil Wayne’s appearance in the Waterfront series was confirmed, ads were circulating that offered front row seats at the show. The price: a mere $350 each (Waterfront’s asking price for a seat in the first 10 rows–$131).

The Federal Trade Commission last week urged consumers to consider concert ticket purchases carefully. If buying from a reseller, the FTC urges that you find one associated with the original ticket seller, concert promoter or the venue. You might pay more, but you’ll also be less likely to be stuck with bogus tickets.

If you feel you must buy from a social media or classified ad website, be cautious. Research the seller by seeking reviews from people who have dealt with that seller. Pay in a manner that has some kind of buyer protection (credit cards, known e-commerce sites) rather than using banking information. Never wire money; once sent, it’s gone and can’t be traced to whoever received it.

Look closely at your tickets; many have a hologram or other authenticating feature. You might want to contact the show promoter or the venue for advice on spotting phony tickets. Check the seating chart against your ticket, to make sure the seat really exists.

If you’ve lost money to a scammer, file a complaint with the FTC at its secure complaint site, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.