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Fakes, lies & fraudulent payments: how to avoid ticket scams

If you missed out on tickets for one of your favourite artists this year, you might have been on the lookout for people reselling theirs. Unsurprisingly, scammers are taking advantage. As reported by the BBC, over 600 customers with Lloyds Bank have been scammed out of around £1m after attempting to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. 

‘My friend on Facebook has tickets!’

Lloyds Bank has reported that 90% of these scams have originated on Facebook. Whilst there are a number of ways that scammers can take advantage of people desperate to see Swift on tour, social media is an easy, cost effective way to convince victims to part with their money. 

Victims have reported seeing a mutual friend post on their Facebook that they have tickets for sale. Trusting a friend, or friend of a friend, they’ve sent across money via bank transfer, only to be blocked by the account after the money has been received. It’s only afterwards that victims realise the account has been hacked, and this wasn’t their friend at all. 

‘I have extra tickets, DM me

There has also been an increase in opportunistic scammers leaving comments in TikTok videos of Taylor Swift, stating that they have ‘extra tickets’ or ‘some tickets available’ for the Eras Tour. Some of these scammers are even posting brazenly in the comments of videos where Swift fans have been scammed out of their money in pursuit of tickets.

Like the Facebook scam, users posting these comments look to be either accounts which have been hacked, or accounts that are conspicuously empty. One account which we identified as a fake had a single video of Taylor performing, and nothing else on the account at all. Scammers like this will typically use fake images of tickets, ask for payment, and then stop responding to the victim (or ask for additional payments until the victim realises they’re being scammed).

Fake ticket websites

These kinds of scams aren’t only circulating on social media. Fake reselling websites are also up and running, stating that they have tens and sometimes hundreds of tickets for sold out shows. After putting in their card information, they’ll either receive fake tickets, or be informed that the payment didn’t go through, and to reattempt the charge again, and again.

In 2020, Action Fraud, the City of London Police partnered with Get Safe Online and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) to set up a fake ticket website to demonstrate how easy it is to be convinced to be taken in by one of these scams. More than 1,500 people attempted to purchase tickets through the website.

How can you buy tickets safely?

  1. Buy from STAR or ASTA verified ticketing agencies
    Do not purchase tickets from a website or seller that isn’t part of STAR (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) or ASTA (Association of Secondary Ticket Agents). Check out ASTA’s buying guide for the full list of trustworthy sellers. The price of the ticket should also reflect how popular the ticket is; you can’t pick up Eras Tour tickets for £50 apiece.

  2. Check whether tickets for your event are transferable
    If a ticket is non-transferable, this means that it cannot be sold or transferred to someone other than the person who purchased the ticket. When the event organiser has stated that tickets are non transferable, anyone selling tickets is probably a scammer.

  3. Use a credit card, and/or PayPal
    If you do make the decision to buy tickets from an individual seller, with the awareness that this greatly increases the risk of purchasing fake tickets, make the purchase using a credit card and/or PayPal. In some cases, you can get the payment reversed when you do this. Do not send money via bank transfer.

It’s incredibly disappointing to have missed out on seeing an artist that you love, but ultimately, if you’re tempted to buy tickets from a less-than-trustworthy source, remember you’re likely to be left out of pocket.


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