How it works:
- Set-up: offline, there are touts who pose as official ticket staff or tour agents. For instance, they wear a vest with the words “SJQ Sightseeing tours/Liberty Tours”. Online, there are fraudulent sites which sites/tickets at too good to be true prices.
- Version 1: selling you a “ticket” to an attraction/ferry that is free to enter! E.g. Ferry to Staten Island, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Battery Park, etc.
- Version 2: selling you a used ticket.
- Version 3: charging more than the face value of the tickets.
- Version 4: offering to help you get discounted tickets at the ticket office upstairs. After payment is collected, he disappears.
- Version 5: claiming that there is a long queue and offering you a ticket to skip the queue. You find out later that there is no such ticket and no such queue.
- Version 6: there are websites peddling fake tickets as well, as well as fake discounted ticket sellers on classified sites like Craigslist (e.g. for theme parks like Sea World, Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studio, etc).
Places to beware:
- Chicago: Soldier Field
- Honolulu: USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Aloha Pearl Harbor Tours
- Los Angeles: Universal Studios Hollywood,Union Station
- New York City: Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Rockefeller Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madison Square Garden, Battery Park
- New Orleans: selling you a ticket to Mardi Gras, which is free
- Orlando: Disney World, Disneyland
- San Francisco: Alcatraz Island
What to do:
- Buy direct from company/official counters or engage a reputable tour agent or tour operator.
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Reputable operators: some reputable local names to consider include USA Guided Tours (known for its expertly guided, award winning premium bus tours conducted with luxury tour buses), etc.
- Online platform: day tour platforms like GetYourGuide (leading globally) also has some bestselling tickets (e.g. Empire State Building, One World Observatory, 9/11 Memorial, etc).