Our anonymous ticket hawker has been successfully selling overpriced Cubs tickets to desperate fans for decades. He shares many tricks of the illegal trade and tips to avoid becoming his next mark.
Never tell a scalper how much money you intend to spend. According to our source, the first thing a scalper will ask is, “How much you got?”—then he prices his tickets accordingly.
Scalpers go so far as to pay the homeless and needy college kids to wait in line early in the morning when tickets are released at the beginning of the season. He says scalpers supplement that stock with standing-room-only tickets purchased on the day of the game, as well as tickets bought while canvassing the crowd before games.
Confusing the ticket buyer is a common scalper trick. Instead of using layman’s terms like box seats and upper-deck seats, our source says scalpers will rattle off the field’s numerical sections so they can more easily pass off upper-deck seating (412s) as coveted box seats (112s).
One of the easiest marks for a scalper is a man with his son. Presented with the opportunity for a day at the ballpark, our source says, the child will usually urge Dad to buy. “Scalpers have no moral compass,” he says. “Personally, I don’t wear my wedding ring when I go out there because I don’t want to be victimized myself for looking like a family guy.”