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Ticket fraud

What it is

When you buy tickets from a website or agent for a music concert or festival, a sporting contest such as a football match or rugby tournament, or a live comedian or performer, but the tickets either don’t arrive or turn out to be fake and you aren’t refunded.

Protect yourself

  • 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 on eBay or on a social media), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal.
  • Paying for your tickets by credit card will offer increased protection over other payments methods, such as debit card, cash, or money transfer services. Avoid making payments through bank transfer or money transfer services, as the payment may not be recoverable.

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.
  • Before entering any payment details on a website, make sure the web address starts with https (the ‘s’ stands for secure). There should be That there is a locked padlock icon in the browser’s 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.

How it happens

You may find a website advertised via email or social media offering you the chance to buy tickets to a popular event.

Fraudsters create their own bogus ticket retail companies; their websites are easy to make and look genuine. Some even use a name or website address very similar to a legitimate ticket sales website.

This is a form of phishing; fraudsters take advantage of the huge demand for the most popular events. The tickets they’re advertising have either already sold out, or haven’t officially gone on sale yet, but their website claims to have tickets available. In some instances the event they’re promoting doesn’t even exist.

You pay for the tickets, but they aren’t delivered. In some cases you may be told that a customer representative will meet you at the venue on the day to give you your ticket, but nobody turns up. You may even get the tickets in the post or print off an e-ticket, 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 aren’t answered or you’re told the company doesn’t provide refunds.

If you’re buying football tickets, it’s illegal for anyone to re-sell them in most instances.

How to report it

Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040.