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Arrival of Super Bowl's big tent prompts fraud warnings

Hosting the Super Bowl is a very dig deal for a city or region.

It isn’t only that football is supposedly America’s passion and that the Super Bowl is the championship game. The event long ago took on a life of its own as an unofficial American holiday.

Coming around the time of Groundhog Day, it serves as a de facto mid-winter celebration People gather for parties and even non-fans tune in for the commercials and halftime show.

This year, New Jersey becomes the first northern city to host the game outdoors, rather than in a domed stadium. Understandably, the state wants to put its best foot forward. That effort includes warnings from state authorities about Super Bowl-related scams.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has warned against several different types of fraud that could occur in connection with the big game.

Some of these warnings are pretty standard for a major sports event, such as possible counterfeit scams for tickets. Counterfeit merchandise is also an understandable concern, as the National Football League is known to enforce its trademarks and copyrights vigorously.

But the state Division of Consumer Affairs has also issued a number of other warnings. These include cautions against possible online real estate schemes. One such scheme, for example, could target people who seek to rent out their houses or apartments to Super Bowl-week visitors.

The Super Bowl could also bring other activities that raise concerns among authorities about consumer fraud protections in New Jersey.

In short, the Big Show is coming to the Meadowlands and a lot of side shows could come along with it. But that does not necessarily mean that the criminal law is the right tool to address a particular activity associated with the game. After all, there is plenty of conduct that raises civil concerns that does involved criminal culpability.


Source:, "N.J. warns residents, football fans about Super Bowl-related scams," Jeff Goldman, Jan. 23, 2014

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