Sebastian Jano found out the hard way.
The Villanova investment banker had purchased tickets on Craigslist about 50 times before, and had even successfully purchased tickets to Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens.
He came to trust the seller, so he bought a third pair of tickets from the guy - and paid cash to see Game 5.
But Jano and his wife, Jaime, an attorney, wound up getting turned away. Actually, they weren't the first fans to present scannable printouts for those very seats, they were told. After the acceptance of one pair came a couple of other rejections.
The Flyers couldn't help, saying the tickets didn't come directly from the season ticket holder or the club, Jano said.
As fans scramble to see the Flyers in the finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, the cost of tickets has gone up - and so has the cost of getting scammed.
Jano was out $250 for the pair.
Some of the cheapest seats for the finals in Philly are about $300 each through Wanamaker Tickets, a longtime local broker with offices at 16th and Market Streets.
Wanamaker sells only its own season tickets, with prices ranging up to about $1,300 each, said vice president Jeremi Conaway.
Asking prices begin at about $340 apiece through StubHub.com, which guarantees customers get tickets of equal or better value. On average, seats were selling for $495 apiece, said StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer.
The Flyers won't be selling individual tickets to any of the possible three home games, said spokesman Ike Richman. The only avenue through the club is to lease a club box seat or buy a full season-ticket plan, while supplies of Stanley Cup tickets last, he said.
The only chance fans had for single-game seats has expired: The winners of a ticket lottery will be notified today, Richman said.
The Flyers have their own resale service, called the Flyers Tickets Marketplace. It's "safe and secure" because transactions are handled through credit cards, with the Flyers facilitating delivery, according to the website (https://www.ticketmrktplace.com/ex/loginFrame.action?team=Philadelphia%20Flyers).
Although the nonprofit Craigslist guarantees no transactions, for-profit brokers and online resellers have various degrees of guarantees. TicketNetwork has a 125 percent money-back guarantee, for example, while eBay has an updated protection plan, that includes working things out with the seller.
Carefully check out the reseller's policies and credentials.
Otherwise, it's best to just buy tickets from people you know well, Richman said.
"You want to come to somebody local," said Conaway of Wanamaker. "You don't want to go to somebody's house you don't know. You don't want to meet somebody at 30th Street Station. You want to go to somebody that has a storefront."
"This is not the time to say, you know what, 'I'm going to go down to the game and see if I can get a ticket.' "
Jano said he might try to see the finals, too - if the price is reasonable.
But not through Craigslist.
"I guess the lesson is, you pay the premium on StubHub or the Flyers' ticket exchange, to have some sort of buffer," he said.