Warning over Champions League Final frauds
May 9th 2018
In only the third meeting in history between two English sides in a major European final, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will meet in Madrid on June 1st after two breathtaking semi-final performances this week. But fans are being warned that the frenzy in which the teams' supporters and neutral fans alike are booking match tickets, flights and accommodation will also lead to a bounty for fraudsters, cashing in on their enthusiasm.
The alert from ABTA, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online follows a warning earlier this week about the dangers posed by travel and holiday booking fraud. A report compiled by Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau detailed the most commonly targeted areas of travel and the methods used by unscrupulous criminals to defraud the travelling public.
Over 5,000 people reported to Action Fraud that they had lost a total of just over £7 million to holiday and travel related fraud, an increase on last year, when 4,382 victims reported losing £6.7 miliion. The average amount lost was £1,380 per person but, as in previous years, in addition to the financial cost, victims have also reported the significant emotional impact caused by this crime. The three campaign partners also believe that the actual total figures relating to travel fraud may be even higher, with many victims feeling too embarassed to report.
Over half, 53%, of the crimes reported were related to the sale of airline tickets. These reports were made consistently throughout the year. The next most common fraud at 25%, related to the sale of accommodation. Fraudulent sales of event tickets - to sporting fixtures such as the Champions League Final or the forthcoming Rugby World Cup and UEFA European finals or music festivals and gigs - are also rife, with many fans disappointed and losing their hard-earned money.
Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, said: “This week's astonishing results mean that Liverpool and Spurs fans - and British football fans alike - will be desperate to get their hands on match tickets, flights and accommodation in Madrid, despite the massively inflated prices that are being quoted. But unfortunately, the fraudsters will have a field day, cashing in as they always seem to do on these occasions. The result will be misery for hundreds or even thousands of people who either don't receive their tickets or unwittingly buy fakes that won't let them through the turnstiles, or end up with no flights or nowhere to stay. Not only that , but they won't see a trace of their hard-earned money either.
Neate continued: "Along with ABTA and Action Fraud, we're urging fans to make sure that they buy tickets only from official sources, and flights and accommodation only through reputable sources. You can find our advice on our website under 'Buying Tickets' and 'Holiday & Travel Booking' at www.getsafeonline.org