New figures reveal that more than 4,700 reports of ticket fraud have been received by Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
From April 1, 2018, until April 30, 2019, Action Fraud received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud with losses totalling £1,654,888 – an average of £365 per victim.
According to the centre, with high profile concerts and sporting events taking place this summer, it’s an opportunity for fraudsters to capitalise on unsuspecting fans. Hence, it has launched an awareness campaign alongside the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) to encourage informed purchases from authorised sellers.
Fraudsters, which pose as a website or agent for a music concert or festival, a sporting contest, or a live comedian or performer, dupe consumers into purchasing tickets that either don’t arrive or turn out to be fake.
Last year, Action Fraud received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud, a decrease of almost a third from the 6,486 reports received in the previous 12 months. It is likely that this was as a result of an increased number of alerts issued that warned people about fraudulent tickets, especially ahead of the World Cup in 2018.
However, there was a spike in reporting in August 2018, in which 539 reports were made. This suggests that fraudsters took advantage of people during the peak season for ticketed events such as music festivals.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “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.”
Jonathan Brown, chief executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, added: “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.
“Today’s highly sobering figures reveal that, although most of us think we can spot a scam, in fact victims of unscrupulous ticket dealers come from all walks of life. Younger people are especially affected – prompting us to launch a bold new campaign with Action Fraud to reach this market.”
Action Fraud advises the following steps when buying tickets, including:
- Only buying 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;
- Being 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. STAR has also published an online guide to buying tickets safely.