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How to make sure those Gamecock tickets are legit

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Tickets for the USC and Georgia game have been officially sold out since August 20th, but that doesn't mean there still aren't ways to get tickets to the game.

However, since everything you will find on line and on game day will be resale, officials with the Department of Consumer Affairs have some advice.

First, they say make sure you've asked everyone you know. "A referral from friends and family is often the safer bet than even going online," said Carri Grube Lybarker, the Administrator for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA). 

But the odds are, you've done that. So what's next? "Going online is your next best bet, but you want to make sure that you're going to a source that has a reputation, and that's been around for a while," said Lybarker.

A quick internet search for USC vs. GA tickets will turn up all sorts of ticket sites like stub hub, vivid seats, and ticket city. "Stub hub and the other dealers are often just the in between of someone who has the ticket and the actual consumer," said Lybarker. While the sites are the middle man, Lybarker says many of them have buyer protection plans which is key. "Read it, because once you make that transaction, you're bound to whatever that policy is," she added.

If there's no policy, like with sites like Craigslist, Lybarker says you could be bound to lose your money. "Craigslist is ripe for scams," said Lybarker. "You don't know who you're dealing with… you take the ticket that you got in the mail to the game and it shows up as not being valid, and you're out those funds." Lybarker adds even if someone offers to meet you in person, use caution. "Of course you'd want to meet them in a public place, but again there could be some fraud where they're not telling you who they really are," said Lybarker.

So Lybarker says your safest bet online is on a policy protected site and/or a protected money exchange like PayPal. "It's kind of a double protection because then you'll have a PayPal dispute process, as well as, your credit card dispute process."

Of course the very last ditch effort for buyer and seller is usually right outside the stadium. But remember, these game day tickets were 70 dollars face value, and 65 dollars for season ticket holders.

"They (scalpers) can charge no more than a dollar over face value for collegiate events," said Lybarker. That's the law. However, officials with the USC ticket office say if you're worried whether the ticket that's being sold to you is real, you can take it to a gate attendant for a scan. "That may make the guy run off, but at least then you know that you didn't get ripped off," said Lance Grantham, the Assistant Athletic Director of Ticketing for USC.

Grantham says he can't believe how high some of the ticket prices are on resale sites. "That's not a Gamecock price," said Grantham. "That's a fan, a season ticket holder or a single game buyer trying to make a little bit of money. We don't encourage it, it's against state law, but people are going to do what they're going to do," he added.

Grantham says if it were up to him he'd love to have "all the tickets available in the world." "If you've got a ticket you're not going to use, make sure you pass it to a friend," said Grantham. "I'm not saying sell it, but give it to a friend make sure that ticket gets used. We want a full attendance for this week. That'll be important to us winning, and hopefully we can do that."

USC's athletics department has been putting out reminders that if you did not get your ticket through their department or Ticketmaster when they were still available, you can check the authenticity of your ticket at the box office in Colonial Life Arena between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and then tomorrow starting at 3 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

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