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55% rise in ticket fraud last year

March 21st 2016

•   £5.2 million lost to online ticket fraud in 2015 compared to £3.35 million in 2014
•   26% of fraudulent tickets sold online in 2015 were for big sporting events
•   20-29 year olds accounted for over a quarter of victims in 2015

For information and advice about buying tickets safely online, click here

New figures from Get Safe Online and the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)  show that incidents of online ticket fraud rose by 55% in 2015, costing the UK public £5.2 million. According to actual reported crimes between November 2014 and October 2015, major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and Premier League football matches accounted for over a quarter of all incidents of ticket scams. This is followed by fraudulent tickets to gigs and festivals (15%).

Those most at risk of buying fake or non-existent tickets are aged between 20-29 (28%) followed by 30-39 and 40-49 year olds (23% for each age group).  With the UEFA Euro 2016 Championships coming up in June and the summer festival season not far off, Get Safe Online is urging sports and music fans to be vigilant when trying to buy tickets, especially on social media sites, which are increasingly being used by criminals to facilitate ticket fraud. 

Findings show that 21% of crimes relating to ticket fraud were instigated via Facebook and 6% on Twitter. 22% of reported incidents took place on Gumtree.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: “Criminals have captured a market of fans who will do anything to get a ticket, which makes festivals, concerts and big sporting events a prime target for fraud. If you really want to see your team play at a big sporting event or get tickets to one of the big summer festivals, it can be really tempting to try and get tickets from all kinds of places other than the official websites. Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target. Often ticket prices are ramped right up – so you risk losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist. Likewise, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s quite likely that you are being scammed.

“Criminals are clever and often use pre-existing websites or fan forums to help them appear legitimate, or in fact mimic genuine websites to help them dupe their victims into handing over money. Take your time before making a payment and try to do as much research as you can to ensure that the provider or person you are buying from is exactly who they say they are. These criminals will jump at any chance to exploit innocent people, but it’s worth remembering that their scams don’t work without people handing over money.”

City of London Police’s Commander Chris Greany, Natiionl police lead for economic crime, said:

“Ticket fraudsters will use every opportunity they can to try and exploit innocent people who are simply looking to book an event or holiday. The newly released figures show that fraudsters will particularly target those who are spending large amounts of money on flight tickets or tickets for holiday packages.

“The fact that people in their twenties are most likely to fall victim to ticket fraud is concerning as this is the age-group who are known to be most ‘cyber-savvy’.  If this group is falling victim it suggests that the fraudulent tickets sellers are very convincing and have the ability to exploit just about every type of internet user.

“We ask that people 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. if you do fall victim to a ticket fraud please report it to Action Fraud so we can identify how this criminality is being committed and shut it down.”

Get Safe Online has comprehensive advice to help you stay safe when buying tickets.