Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when buying tickets for festivals and events online, as figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal almost £1 million has been lost to ticket fraud so far this year.
Data from Action Fraud reveals that 1,085 reports of ticket fraud have been made so far this year, equating to an average loss of £850 per victim. Almost two thirds of victims (61 per cent) were aged between 20 to 49 years old.
Action Fraud received 374 reports of ticket fraud in March this year – the highest number of reports received since March 2020 when lockdown restrictions were first implemented. Victims reported losing over £200,000 in March this year alone.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“Many festivals and events scheduled to go ahead as coronavirus-related restrictions ease have already sold out – something criminals are more than happy to take advantage of.
“To avoid disappointment, only buy tickets from the venue directly, an official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site. Don’t be duped by offers on secondary ticketing websites or social media, as this is often where criminals will advertise fake tickets to popular and sold-out events. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
One victim lost £200 after posting on Twitter asking if anyone had tickets for sale for a concert. The victim was messaged by someone who claimed they had a number of tickets for sale and the suspect claimed they would transfer the tickets to the victim as soon as payment was received. The victim sent the payment via PayPal and once the suspect had received the payment, they blocked the victim.
Another victim lost almost £250 after joining a Facebook group where they saw someone selling two VIP tickets to a festival. The victim contacted the person selling the tickets and was informed that they only accepted payment a digital wallet provider. The suspect claimed they would transfer the tickets to the victim as soon as payment was received, but went on to block the victim and continued to advertise the tickets on the same group.
Another victim lost more than £3,500 after purchasing tickets for a rugby tour via what appeared to be a legitimate ticket website. The victim attempted to obtain a refund due to the uncertainty around travel, but was unable to contact the company. The company has since been dissolved and a number of other victims have reported suffering a similar fate.
Action Fraud has launched a national awareness campaign today (Monday 14 June 2021) to remind the public to take extra care when booking tickets online, as it is anticipated that increased demand for tickets following restrictions easing will lead to more unsuspecting victims being targeted.
Spot the signs of ticket fraud and protect yourself:
- Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.
- Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of 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. For more information: star.org.uk/buy_safe
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.