The scam that could ruin the Olympic Games!
Don't get sucked in by fraudsters trying to sell you fake tickets for the Olympic Games.
Tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games in London go on sale today. But if you’re planning on making a booking, you need to watch out!
That's because fraudsters have launched a number of fake websites offering tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games in an attempt to catch people out and run off with their hard-earned cash! Just last month police made 32 arrests from nine seperate operations targeting Olympic ticket touting gangs.
Festival frolics and fraud
Of course, it's not just the Olympic Games fraudsters are cashing in on. With festival season well and truly here, websites are springing up everywhere selling fake tickets for a whole range of popular festivals. In fact, the Office of Fair Trading reckons that one in 12 tickets bought on the internet is a fake!
So if you're hoping to buy a ticket for a festival or concert in coming weeks, make sure you follow these tips:
Look for the STAR logo
Before you buy your tickets, it’s worth checking whether the company selling them is a member of STAR – the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers. Members include Ticketmaster, Applause, and Keith Prowse, to name a few. You can find a list of all members here.
If you’re buying your tickets in person, rather than on a website, you should check to see whether the STAR logo has been displayed – usually it will be on the outside of the agency’s office or by the counter.
Buying from a STAR member ensures you have an independent means of redress through a recognised self-regulatory body should anything go wrong. So it really is worth doing this.
If you're planning on booking for the Olympics, check the official london2012.com website for a list of official channels that will be distributing legitimate tickets.
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Check the site
Just because a website might look genuine, it doesn’t mean it is. So if you’ve found a website selling tickets, before you go ahead with your purchase, check out the website of the event or venue itself to see whether it has information about agents they have authorised to sell tickets. Check to see whether the company you’re planning to buy your tickets from is included in this.
It’s also a good idea to simply run a web search to see if anyone has criticised your chosen company.
Check the price
Spend a bit of time researching the face value cost of all tickets you buy. If the price of a ticket seems too low or too high then it may well be a scam.
You should also be wary of any vendors offering unrealistically specific or prestigious tickets. For example if a site is offering Olympic Games tickets guaranteeing you front row seats in all the most popular events, then it could well be a scam. After all; if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is!
Check the address
It’s also a good idea to check whether there’s an address on the website. If the address isn’t obvious (perhaps it’s hidden away in the terms and conditions, or it’s missing all together), the website is best avoided. You should also be wary if the address is a P.O. Box.
Similarly, if the only way to contact the company is by email or mobile phone, you should look for tickets elsewhere.
If you’re paying online, check the website has a secure way of paying. Check to see whether there’s a padlock symbol on the screen when you go to fill in your payment details. You should also ensure the web address at the top of the page changes to ‘https://’ , as opposed to the usual ‘http’. The ‘s’ signifies it’s secure.
It’s also a good idea to pay by credit card if the amount is over £100. That’s because you’ll be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (1974), which will give you valuable consumer protection if there's a problem with your purchases.
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Pay with the right card
Finally, if you are hoping to buy tickets for the Olympic Games when they do finally go on sale next year, you will need to be extra careful how you pay. That's because you will only be able to use a Visa credit card or debit card - American Express and MasterCard will not be accepted because Visa is the official sponsor of the Olympic Games.
If you are looking for the best way to pay, you could consider a 0% on new purchases credit card, such as the Tesco Bank Credit Card which offers 13 months interest-free on all purchases! What's more, if you wanted to carry out a balance transfer at the same time, you could also enjoy 9 months interest-free.
Alternatively, if you fancy a low rate for the lifetime of the debt, you could consider the Barclaycard Platinum Simplicity Visa which offers an interest rate of 7.9% for all purchases and balance transfers.
This is an updated article that was originally published last year.