During the last couple of University of Kentucky basketball games, a total of 30 to 40 people have been turned away from the box office because they had bogus tickets, UK ticket manager Barbara Osborne said Friday.
Osborne said the number has been increasing each game. The university issued a warning to Wildcats fans Thursday, alerting them to be aware of fraudulent tickets.
"It doesn't sound like a lot when you have 23,000 tickets sold, but it is when you are the one dealing with upset fans," she said.
Only tickets purchased through the UK ticket office or Ticketmaster are guaranteed to be valid, Osborne said. In most cases, the fraudulent tickets have been altered student tickets, she said. Student tickets are $5, and a valid UK student ID is required to use them to get into Rupp Arena. Tickets for non-students run $28 to $33 through Ticketmaster or UK.
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Osborne said the text across the top of the ticket that reads "Student ID Required" has been whited out or covered up on the altered tickets.
"We know they were originally sold to a student, but we know tickets pass through many hands sometimes," she said. "We have no idea who's posting them."
Most of the bogus tickets have been sold online, Osborne said. Tickets resold on third-party Web sites, such as eBay or StubHub, often reach into the hundreds of dollars.
The ticket office is working on a way to help identify altered tickets, Osborne said. The new tickets, which will be given to students through a lottery on Monday, will have a new format. The font that reads "Student ID Required" has been enlarged and rearranged to be more prominent.
"We're changing it as much as we can with what little time we have," Osborne said. "We don't have a lot of options right now, so it's buyer beware."
Joe Monroe, chief of UK police, said there's an active investigation and officers will continue monitoring the situation.
"We're still interviewing people, tracking down different leads," Monroe said.
He said the ticket format will help because "it will be very evident if someone tries to alter that."
In addition to the new format, Monroe said he will be at the lottery to inform the students that altering the tickets is a criminal violation — and they could lose their right to get student tickets. Monroe said officers will be outside after the lottery to make sure students aren't selling their tickets to ticket brokers.
Monroe says they've noticed an increase in the number of people who try to use bogus tickets to enter games, including people who try to reuse tickets from previous games.
"With the success of the team comes some negative points like this," he said.