The Better Business Bureau serving Louisville has issued a warning for people to be wary of scam artists selling Kentucky Derby tickets.

“The best way to avoid getting scammed is to deal with a business that you know is legitimate. You can check out businesses at,” said bureau spokeswoman Reanna Smith-Hamblin. She suggested using a credit card to purchase any race tickets, so the buyer can substantiate any disputed charge.

The bureau advisory said to be careful when you are using online auction sites, or sites like Craigslist.

“Scam artists often ask ticket seekers to send money through Western Union. The BBB has had reports of ticket-buyers losing thousands of dollars this way. After you wire the money, you never get the tickets…and your money is gone,” the advisory said.

Here are some red flags for Internet or Craigslist-type scams:


  • The buyer is not local.
  • Misspellings and grammar errors are evident in the response.
  • Western Union is used for the transaction.
  • The seller offers use of an online escrow service.

A ticket to the Kentucky Derby is a hot ticket item,” Charlie Mattingly, the bureau president and CEO, said.  If you buy a ticket to the Derby, “Make sure you don’t get taken for a ride.”

To protect yourself against ticket fraud, Mattingly suggested “having the seller provide proof that he/she paid for the seats and check where they are at Churchill Downs.”

While there are legitimate posts, Derby ticket scams often pop up on Craigslist and online auction sites.

For BBB information, call 1-800-388-2222. The Better Business Bureau office serving Louisville, southern Indiana and western Kentucky is at 844 S. 4th St.

Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at 502-582-7089, or via email at