If you're thinking about a last minute trip Sunday to see the Minnesota Vikings battle the Detroit Lions at TCF Bank Stadium, or any game this season, be careful where you decide to get your tickets.

The Vikings want to remind you that the only authorized outlets for Vikings football tickets are the Vikings Ticket Office, Ticketmaster and the NFL TicketExchange. Purchasing tickets from any other sources are done at the buyer's own risk.

The Vikings and the Better Business Bureau are offering fans the following tips:

On Game Day:

  • Always check with the Vikings Ticket Office or the ticket booths to see if tickets are available. Oftentimes the visiting team may return tickets on the day of the game.
  • Never buy an Eticket or TicketFast ticket (printed on 81/2” x 11” paper) from anyone! Most counterfeits are Etickets or TicketFast tickets. If you purchase Vikings tickets from an unauthorized source you run the risk that it is fake.
  • The Vikings have three types of authorized ticket stock: Vikings season and single game ticket stock and Ticketmaster ticket stock. The counterfeiters have tried to copy all three types of ticket stock.

If you are buying tickets from someone on the street:

  • Take your time. Scrutinize the tickets closely for any inaccuracies or alterations.
  • Check the back of the ticket to see if it appears to have been photo copied. Also, all Vikings single ticket stock is numbered in sequential order on the back of the ticket. The number is printed three times on each ticket in red ink.
  • Very few Vikings tickets are sold on Ticketmaster ticket stock. If you are buying tickets on the street and they are Ticketmaster stock they are most likely counterfeit.
  • Ask the person who is selling tickets on the street, if you could take a picture of him/her with their valid ID before the transaction. If they refuse, move on.

If you decide to buy tickets online:

  • Only the Vikings ticket office, Ticketmaster and the NFL TicketExchange can guarantee the ticket you purchase online will be valid to attend the event.
  • When buying from a merchant, always look for the BBB OnLine seal. The logo will tell you that you’re dealing with a company that has a good reputation for satisfying customers and a secure web site for processing your payment.
  • When buying from an individual through an online exchange don’t be lured away from the web site by the seller. Even if you met the seller on the exchange web site, the company may not guarantee any lost money if a transaction occurs outside their domain.
  • If you buy tickets through an online auction, choose a seller with a long, continuous history of satisfied customers. Scammers can hijack old accounts, so make sure they have recently bought or sold other items.
  • Pay with a credit card or through PayPal, which offer some protection and potential reimbursement. Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to a seller; you’ll have no way to get your money back if the tickets do not arrive.

I've found the most important thing is to use common sense and expect to pay more than face value if you want great seats that aren't available through the Vikings authorized sites.

Personally, I've used StubHub on occasion and one thing that is good about them is that if someone does sell counterfeit tickets using that website, they have representatives nearby on game days and they will provide you with tickets close to the ones you originally purchased.  I've never had a problem with tickets purchased from StubHub but it's nice to know they provide that guarantee.