How to avoid counterfeit NFC Championship 49ers vs. Packers tickets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As excitement builds for Sunday's NFC Championship Game, so are warnings about ticket scams. The 49ers are hosting the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium in a game that sends the winner to the Super Bowl. Some fans may be so amped up, they could become targets of fraud.

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Team executives tell us it's harder than ever to create fake tickets, now that the Niners use all-electronic ticketing. However, that doesn't mean the bad guys won't try. They know lots of fans will pay big bucks to get a seat in the sold-out stadium -- and some may overlook the signs of a scam.

There's no lack of excitement over the big game on Sunday. There are also almost no paper tickets like the old days.

Instead, fans must purchase tickets on a mobile device using an app that displays a barcode -- which must be scanned at the gate.

RELATED: 49ers tickets selling for $10K for VIP seats against Green Bay at Levi's Stadium

The electronic system makes counterfeiting difficult. However, team executive Jim Mercurio tells us scammers are bound to try.

"There's still going to be nefarious people out there that are trying to be opportunistic and catch those fans that are overly excited and just want to get into the game," Mercurio says.

The team has provided paper tickets to a few season ticket holders who don't own mobile devices. However, those are rare - so if someone tries to sell you one, be careful. It's likely a fake.

Also, there's no way to print out an electronic ticket with this app, so if someone tries to sell you a printed version, it's likely not real and definitely won't get you through the gates.

A screenshot of an electronic ticket will not get you in either -- even if that e-ticket is valid. You must scan the actual barcode, not a picture of one.
"What happens is, you won't know that till you come to the game. You spent $200, $300, $500 whatever... Then you come to the game and we tell you, 'I'm sorry this ticket is invalid.' Now you have four victims sitting outside the gate very upset they can't watch the game."

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There were no reports of fake tickets at last week's game, but some fans were disappointed to find out screen-shots of tickets didn't work. A seller must transfer a valid ticket onto a buyer's mobile device, and then the barcode will get you in.

Beware of sellers who only accept cash or payment apps that don't offer buyer protection. The team says the safest way to buy a ticket is through the 49ers website or Ticketmaster... but you'll need a mobile device to download it. And prices on the secondary market right now range from about $350 for standing room, all the way up to $10,000 and more in the VIP seats.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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