Home News Music and sports fans at risk of huge rise in online ticket...

Music and sports fans at risk of huge rise in online ticket fraud, warn councils


People desperate to attend major pop concerts, music festivals and sporting events this summer face a greater risk of falling victim to criminals after online ticket fraud soared by 55 per cent, councils warned today.

More than £5 million was lost to online ticket fraud in the UK in 2015 – up from £3.35 million in 2014 – with social media sites now accounting for nearly half of all reported ticket scams. On average, customers who bought fake tickets lost £444 per transaction.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is urging music and sports fans to be wary of buying fake or non-existent tickets. It is also calling on social media sites to do more to crack down on online ticket fraud.

Trading standards teams at councils nationwide say criminals will be looking to exploit people wanting to see Wembley concerts by Beyonce, Rihanna, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen, attend music festivals such as Glastonbury and sporting events including the Euro 2016 Championships and Wimbledon.

With some of these events already sold-out or expected to sell-out, the LGA is reminding people to buy tickets through official channels and not to risk losing money by using other websites, agencies or social media sites.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of fake tickets sold online in 2015 were for big sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup and Premier League football matches. Bogus tickets to gigs and festivals accounted for 15 per cent. More than a fifth (21 per cent) of ticket fraud was instigated via Facebook, with Gumtree accounting for 22 per cent and Twitter 6 per cent.

Recent ticket fraud cases include a man facing a jail sentence for selling non-existent concert tickets online for One Direction, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Take That, with one victim fleeced out of £825, while a Liverpool FC fan was conned out of £700 this month by scammers selling fake Europa League final tickets on Instagram.

More than 200 concert goers complained to Action Fraud last year after tickets purchased for shows including Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and AC/DC from an online ticket website failed to show up.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

“Concerts, music festivals and major sporting events are a prime target for fraud, with high-demand events creating a higher number of potential victims.

“With Euro 2016 starting next month, big-name concerts on the horizon and Glastonbury Festival already sold out, this summer is ripe for criminals to exploit desperate fans willing to do anything to get a ticket to see England play or see their favourite band.

“Fans are often prepared to pay vastly inflated prices for tickets and might be tempted to resort to unofficial websites. But they risk losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist.

“Social media sites now account for nearly half of all ticket scams and they need to do more to help prevent people being conned paying for tickets on their sites.

“People should be very wary of ticket offers for ‘sold out’ events as these situations are exploited by criminals. Similarly, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s likely to be a scam.

“Fans should only buy tickets from official sites and when buying resold tickets ensure that they are buying from vendors who have been approved by the event organiser.

“Trading standards teams at councils nationwide are cracking down on online ticket fraud and won’t hesitate to prosecute anyone found to be involved in selling fake or non-existent tickets.”

Mike Andrews, lead co-ordinator for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team, said:

“As summer music festival line-ups are announced, and the squads for Euro 2016 are being confirmed, we expect criminals to exploit fans’ excitement by flogging fake tickets on forums, sham websites and social media.

“Criminals selling fake tickets online are becoming more and more prevalent – to avoid disappointment we urge fans to be on guard when purchasing sports and music tickets. Only those fans with official tickets will be guaranteed admission to concerts, festivals and sports events this summer – tickets not bought through official channels could be liable for cancellation.

“For fans considering snapping up any last-minute tickets, be sure to read our online ticket checklist. If you are concerned that a sale may be fraudulent we urge you to report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline by calling 03454 04 05 06.”

Advice on buying tickets:

  • Avoid purchasing tickets if they do not include the block, row, and seat details. Without these details there is no way to determine if the tickets exist or not.
  • Always check with the event organiser for official ticket distribution lists and never buy from unauthorised sources, particularly through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
  • If you are engaging with unofficial sellers you should always research the seller/company thoroughly online. If it is a company, check how long they have been registered at Companies House(the longer the better – if they recently registered it could be a scam). Check the seller or company online for unfavourable reviews on Site JabberTrust Pilot or Feefo and beware of false positive reviews.
  • Always pay for tickets by credit card and never pay by direct transfer – the card issuer is jointly liable for a failure for goods or services to be provided as long as the price of a single ticket is over than £100.
  • Only make purchases from sites encrypted for payment – look for the padlock in the address bar.
  • For more advice visit National Trading Standards Festival Purchasing Checklist at nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/music-and-sports-fans-at-risk-of-huge-rise-in-online-ticket-fraud

Case studies

  • A man who made more than £4,500 by selling fake concert tickets for big-name artists– including One Direction, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Take That – is facing a jail sentence. The 36-year-old, from Dudley, sold non-existent tickets to gigs over the internet, including Ebay and Gumtree, but after paying up his victims never heard from him again. One victim who thought she was buying VIP tickets for a Take That concert was fleeced out of £825. The defendant is due to be sentenced on June 10.
  • A Liverpool FC fan was conned out of £700 by scammers selling fake Europa League final tickets on Instagram. He met the seller to buy the tickets, which he thought were genuine, but later noticed the hologram on the tickets had peeled off – revealing them to be counterfeit.
  • An 18-year-old man from Brighton was arrested after police received more than 60 complaints about non-supply of paid-for tickets for last year’s Bestival music festival in the Isle of Wight.
  • More than 200 concert goers complained to Action Fraud last year after tickets purchased for shows including Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and AC/DC from online ticket website circletickets.com failed to show up. The company’s website shut down last summer.
  • Fake One Direction e-tickets to one of the group’s concerts at The O2 last year were sold on Twitter.
Previous articlePlanned road works in the North West: summary for Monday, 23 May to Sunday, 29 May 2016
Next articleSerious motorcycle collision in Colne


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here