SAN ANTONIO — The Better Business Bureau is reminding Fiesta-goers of the possibility that con artist may target people headed to the festival.
Fiesta is scheduled to return March 31 to April 10.
The BBB says with any major event, scammers will try to take advantage of the demand for services and a larger pool of potential victims.
"A lot of con artists use the the atmosphere, the availability of people, and the groups that are moving in public spaces to to sell or to pitch, or to rob your identity and their money," said Jason Meza, with the Better Business Bureau San Antonio.
Many of the events at Fiesta are free to the public, but seats at some of the larger parade including Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parade require tickets. Tickets are also required at events like Taste of the Republic 2022. Scammers will often promote the sale of Fiesta tickets on third party sites that are fake or never provided, the BBB said.
"You see these pop-up sites, and they look legit, and they don't have a lot of information, but you offer payment and then go down a dark path," said Meza.
"It looks like a deep discount and a great deal. It could come with some strings attached, and that's where we see people come up and they say, 'I bought on this site. It looked great. It was on Google, it was advertised, it was sponsored, but (that) doesn't make it legitimate," Meza added. "So just really, do your research and start with the verified resellers that have good reputations."
Meza also warned of schemers lurking on Facebook Market Place or Facebook groups trying to sell tickets to events. He said the crooks duplicate profiles, so they look like real people living in your neighborhood or trying to gain trust through your social circle.
"They play into that and say, 'Listen, we we can't attend. We really want these tickets to go to good people, just pay us the face value or a little bit over and we'll drop them to you or we'll meet you somewhere,'" said Meza. "And, they usually use an unsecure payment method like a cash app, so they can avoid detection."
For people traveling to San Antonio for Fiesta, the BBB continues to receive many reports of scams related to third-party booking for hotels and other travel expenses.
"You think you're paying a deposit, you think it's a landlord, you think it's the owner and it's not, and you end up with a duped listing or a hijack listing," said Meza.
The BBB also warned of fraudulent QR codes that direct people to malicious sites. The QR codes are often found on flyers, the back of parking meters, emails and other forms of communication.
"Schemers really, really do their homework and they figure out every piece of the chain so they avoid detection," said Meza. "By the time somebody comes to investigate, they've moved on and they're nowhere to be found, not even in the country."
Visit BBB.org/AvoidScams for more tips on how to identify and avoid scams.
And check out our KENS 5 Fiesta Guide to plan your visit to Fiesta.