Too good to be true?

Andrea W. Doray, Alchemy

By the time you read this, we’ll know whether the Denver Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl … and whether you purchased counterfeit tickets for the showdown.

The chances of both happening are pretty high. The Broncos will likely put the Patriots away. And, as of this writing, single tickets to the AFC Championship game in Denver are going for as much as $500 to $1,200 each on Craigslist.

When they went on sale at 10 a.m. Monday after the Broncos’ victory over the Chargers, game tickets were snatched up in fewer than 15 minutes, and people got a “sold out” message online as early as 10:01 a.m. Many people have had to turn to resell tickets, where prices can be 400 percent over face value.

None of this, actually, is bad. Fans who believe (in the Broncos or, less reasonably, in the Patriots) are quite willing to pay big bucks for the big game and this secondary market is the only way to get there.

The problem is that many of these the tickets are fake.

The Broncos, the NFL, and Denver police are warning fans about counterfeit tickets, especially those with prices that seem to good to be true. These fake tickets look like the real thing—but they don’t behave that way. The solution, we’re told, is to purchase game tickets only through Ticketmaster and NFL Ticket Exchange.

Of course, however, many tickets resold by individuals legit. But it’s difficult to tell the difference.

NFL tickets aren’t the only counterfeit offerings out there. For example, the FTC recently took action against four weight-loss companies. It’s no secret that weight loss is an American obsession — maybe as big as scoring tickets to championship games — especially now when we are setting goals for the New Year such as eating healthy and getting more exercise.

But most of us do feel that we could use some help, and weight-loss products are big business.

The problem is that many of their claims are fake.

According to the FTC, one of the biggest offenders is the company that manufactures and markets Sensa as a powder users sprinkle on their food to spur weight loss — a pitch that seems too good to be true.

Personally, I don’t particularly subscribe to the theory that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is … lots of just such good things have come my way through the years.

But I’ve also fallen prey to offers that weren’t what they said they were.

Usually this was because I wanted to believe … wanted to believe that the hotel I booked online really was on the beach. That the discounted sunglasses with the popular logo were genuine. That if I sent a complete proposal outlining my strategy for someone else’s business problem, I would get the job. (I don’t do anymore.)

So, the lesson I’m taking away from this news of deceptive advertising, unscrupulous scalpers, and ticket counterfeiters is —let the buyer beware.

But I still do want to believe. And if I’ve learned anything else from this too-good-to-be-true football season, it’s that if we believe, good things can and do happen.

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