Music and sports fans are being warned about a rise in ticket fraud after victims were scammed out of £365 on average last year.
Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, is warning people going to music concerts and sporting events this summer to be on the lookout for fraudsters trying to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.
It says that between 1 April 2018 and 30 April 2019 it received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud, with victims reporting losses of £1.7 million, totalling £365 each on average.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, says: “Fraudsters take advantage when music and sports fans are keen to get tickets for high profile events. 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.”
How the scam works
Fraudsters are posing as websites or agents for concerts, festivals, or sporting events online.
Unsuspecting victims log on to the website thinking it is legitimate and then enter their details, but only find out they have been scammed after their tickets don’t arrive or they turn out to be fake.
Last Year, Action Fraud received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud, down almost a third from the 6,486 reports received in the previous 12 months.
However, there was a spike in reporting in August, in which 539 reports were made, suggesting fraudsters were taking advantage of people during the peak season for ticketed events such as music festivals.
People are being advised to avoid using sites if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after they buy tickets.
Fraudsters create fake websites with web addresses similar to that of a genuine site, so people should double check the web address to make sure they’re on the correct website.
Any webpages that ask for personal or financial details should start with ‘https’ and display a locked padlock icon in the address bar.
Jonathan Brown, chief executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, says: “Buying from a STAR member means you are buying from an authorised ticket supplier signed up to our strict code of practice.
"While we hope you never have to use it, this also gets you access to our approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service.”
How to protect yourself
Action Fraud has some top tips to protect against this kind of fraud:
- Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
- Avoiding paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal offer greater protections against fraud.
- Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Is the vendor a member of STAR? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints.