June 9th 2015
As we head into summer, people around the UK are getting prepared for a hectic few months of festivals, sporting events, concerts and of course, holidays.
But if you are trying to obtain tickets, all may not be as it seems. That’s why Get Safe Online has joined forces with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Gumtree to warn you to be careful at this time of year. This is in the light of new figures which reveal that 33% of crime reports related to ticket fraud in 2014 happened in the months May, June and July. This is largely due to the number of UK festivals and high-profile concerts taking place during these months, giving ticket fraudsters far more opportunities to strike.
– £3.35 million lost to ticket fraud in 2014
– 33% of ticket fraud reported in 2014 happened in May, June and July
– Beyonce and One Direction concerts big targets in 2014
Despite the positive news that overall levels of ticket fraud have decreased by 11% since 2013, a staggering total of £3.35 million was still lost to ticket fraud in 2014, with victims losing on average £250 each. What is particularly worrying is that in 2014, there was a 6% rise in teenagers being targeted by ticket scams, going hand in hand with an increase of social media sites being used by suspects to facilitate ticket fraud.
Facebook was mentioned in approximately 12% of all reports recorded in 2014, an increase of 8% when compared with the previous year. The nature of social networking – having such a massive base of users, many of whom are unknown to you – means that using it carries a huge degree of risk for consumers and a huge opportunity for ticket criminals looking to scam innocent people. More work is needed by social media companies and those using these sites regularly, to help prevent this trend from continuing. Unsurprisingly, nearly three quarters of victims stated the first contact they had with a suspect was through the internet.
In addition to this, it appears as if last year’s Beyonce and One Direction tours were fraudster hot spots, with nearly 6% of all reports in 2014 relating to these two artists. Both Beyonce and One Direction have a huge teenage following which is likely to have contributed to the increase in people aged 20 and under reporting ticket fraud. This shows that when it comes to buying tickets for high-profile concerts that have or are likely to sell out, it is important to make sure the site and person you buy from is legitimate. Wherever possible, always use a payment card to purchase tickets rather than via bank transfer directly into people’s accounts, as you will not be covered if anything goes wrong. Additionally, read the terms and conditions to make sure you that you understand the terms on which the seller is offering the tickets.
Get Safe Online CEO Tony Neate said: “It can sometimes be tempting to buy from sources other than official websites if you’re desperate to get tickets to see your favourite band this summer. Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target.”
He continued: “Contact via the internet is ideal for these criminals as they are able to 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. E-ticketing fraud is also an increasing threat. Although convenient for people, it is much easier for offenders to copy and sell multiple tickets that you think are genuine, yet when you attend the event, the ticket is no longer valid as someone has already been submitted. Unfortunately, as these stats highlight, we are seeing more and more cases of teenagers falling victim, stressing the importance of making sure children are aware of these sorts of scams from a young age.”
Ticket fraud relating to sporting events saw an 8% increase in 2014 compared with 2013. This can be put down to mass-scale events like the Fifa World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth Games, meaning more opportunities for people to buy tickets from the wrong hands.
Tony Neate continues: “Take your time before making a payment and try to do as much research as you can to assure you the provider/ person you are buying from is exactly who they say they are. These criminals will jump at any chance to exploit innocent people but what’s worth remembering is that their scams don’t work without people handing over money.”
To make sure that you get to enjoy this summer’s gigs, festivals and big games, Joe Rindsland from Gumtree offers this advice to potential ticket buyers: “First you should check that the tickets can be resold. Our advice is to always independently check the re-sale terms of the event before even thinking about buying tickets. Make sure you ask the seller lots of questions, such as face value and seat number, and why they are being sold. If you do decide to buy tickets, meet face-to-face in a safe, public environment to ensure they are real. Finally, you should only buy official tickets issued by the vendor.”
DCI Matt Bradford, Deputy Head of the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said: “Ticketing fraudsters exploit their victim’s enthusiasm to attend popular events; when buying online people are often in a rush as they want to get the tickets before they sell-out. Fraudsters can take advantage of this and get people to pay for tickets that either don’t exist or are false.”
DCI Bradford continued: “To protect yourself from falling victim to ticket fraud always check with the event organiser, promoter or venue about how the tickets are being distributed. Ask the ticket seller questions about when the tickets are going to be dispatched and the type of ticket you’re buying”.
We strongly recommend the following tips to make sure you stay safe online:
– Buy tickets only from the venue box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange sites
– Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery
– Double check all details of your ticket purchase before confirming payment
– Do not reply to unsolicited emails from sellers you don’t recognise
– Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
– There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
– The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
– If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
– Ensure any third-party payment services (such as WorldPay) are secure before you make your payment
– Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa
– In the event that you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example on eBay), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts
– Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy
– Keep receipts
– Check credit card and bank statements carefully after ticket purchase to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction
– Ensure you have effective and updated internet security software and firewall running before you go online
– Watch out for e-ticketing fraud, whereby offenders can sell multiple tickets online that appear legitimate yet when you attend the event, the ticket is invalid as someone has already been admitted
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk