- Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, Action Fraud received 6,486 reports of ticket fraud.
- In the same period, the total reported losses to victims were £3,344,835; an average of £568 per victim.
- With lots of music concerts and sporting events taking place in summer, it is an opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.
How is this happening?
Earlier this year, Action Fraud warned football fans planning to travel to the World Cup to be cautious when buying tickets or accommodation because the event is likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.
Action Fraud saw a spike in reporting in June 2017, in which 1,072 reports were made. This suggests that fraudsters are taking advantage of people during the peak season for ticketed events.
Fraudsters will pose as a website or agent for a music concert or festival, a sporting contest such as the World Cup, or a live comedian or performer. Victims will purchase tickets that either don’t arrive or turn out to be fake.
How can I protect myself?
- Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
- Should you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example via an online auction site or social media), you should pay using a secure payment service. Avoid making payments through bank transfer or money transfer services, as the payment may not be recoverable.
- Paying for your tickets by credit card will offer increased protection over other payments methods, such as debit card, cash, or money transfer services.
In April 2017, Action Fraud showed just how easy it is to be tricked into buying fake tickets online through a series of Facebook flash advertising, in which more than 1,500 people tried to purchase music tickets from ‘Surfed Arts’, our fake ticket sales website.
Following over 550 complaints made to Action Fraud which were later disseminated to Essex Police, two men were convicted last month of a ticket fraud involving over 309 victims who were conned out of high profile sporting tickets.
Spot the signs
- Check the contact details of the site you’re buying the tickets from. There should be a landline phone number and a full postal address. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.
- Fraudsters create fake websites with URLs similar to that of a genuine site, so double check the web address to make sure you’re on the correct website. Any webpages you enter personal or financial details into should start with ‘https’ and display a locked padlock icon in the address bar.
- Is the vendor a member of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)? If they are, you’re buying from a company that has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers a service to help customers with outstanding complaints.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said:
“Criminals are taking advantage of people’s desire to buy tickets for popular concerts and sporting events, which are often sold out. This is why it’s so important that people are vigilant and aware that there are fraudsters all over the globe trying to make money out of innocent victims.
“To avoid disappointment, always buy tickets from an official event organiser or website and if you are tempted to buy from a secondary ticket source, always research the company or the person online before making the purchase.
“If you think you have been a victim of ticket fraud, report it to Action Fraud.