Are you getting just the ticket? The rise in online ticket fraud

The internet has transformed the way people buy and sell tickets to gigs, matches and shows and as a result online ticket sales are booming. However, just as businesses see an opportunity within a growing industry so do fraudsters. Statistics show online ticket fraud leapt by 55% in 2015 with major sporting events like the Rugby World Cup and Premier League Football being specifically targeted by fraudsters, so much so that these events account for over a quarter of fraudulent tickets sold online.

The research conducted by Get Safe Online and City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau shows ticket scams cost the UK public £5.2 million last year and 15% of which were tickets to gigs and festivals. Young adults aged between 20-29 are most at risk of buying fake or non-existent tickets (28%). The most common scams victims are faced with involve the selling of tickets that don’t exist, and so never materialise.

Getting hold of tickets for sought after shows and events can be difficult and are often sold out within minutes. The haste of trying to get the last of the Adelle tickets or seats at the Manchester Derby can make it tempting to buy from other websites that may not be trusted sources and all efforts to be security savvy can be forgotten. Because of this sports fans and concert goers are being urged to stay vigilant especially on social media sites.

So how does scam ticketing work?

  • The website offers you the chance to buy tickets to a popular event. The event is often actually sold-out, or the tickets haven’t officially gone on sale yet.
  • You pay for the tickets but they are never delivered.
  • In some cases you might be told that a customer representative will meet you at the venue on the day. Nobody turns up.
  • You may even receive tickets, but when you arrive at the event, the organisers tell you the tickets are fake.
  • When you try to call the company you bought the tickets from, your calls are not answered or do not connect.

Scammers may also attempt to defraud ticket buyers in numerous different ways such as Typosquatting and
Cybersquatting. These involve the scammers relying on you making an error when typing in the domain name for the website you intend to access. We wrote an article on this last year which you can read it in full here.

How can you prevent becoming a victim of ticket fraud?

Action Fraud have provided some valuable tips on how to protect yourself from the scammers:

  • Buy tickets only from the venue box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange sites.
  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
  • Double check all details of your ticket purchase before confirming payment.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails from sellers you don’t recognise.
  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
  1. There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
  2. The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
  3. If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
  • Ensure any third-party payment services (such as WorldPay) are secure before you make your payment.
  • Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as ‘Verified’ by Visa.
  • In the event that you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example on eBay), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
  • Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after ticket purchase to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.

Festivals, concerts and matches are fun, but don’t take a risk when trying to bag some tickets. For more advice on how to protect against the latest scams or to report a fraud contact Action Fraud by visiting their site or calling 0300 123 2040.