Ticket fraud: how to avoid falling for fake ticket scams

Looking to buy tickets for a music concert or big sporting event? We explain how to stay safe from the ticket scammers.

The fake ticket problem

Whenever a big event is on the horizon, whether it’s a gig by a popular act or a sporting event, you can guarantee that scammers will be rubbing their hands with glee at the potential to make a few quid.

In 2015, fans were scammed out of £5.2 million according to police figures - that's a 55% rise on the previous year.

Separate data from Action Fraud suggests a typical victim loses a whopping £444.


How ticket scams work

Scammers will set up fake websites which offer you the chance to buy tickets to a popular event, generally one that is already sold out or where the tickets haven’t officially yet gone on sale.

You hand over the cash for the tickets, but they don’t turn up. Or it may be that you are sent tickets, which are actually a fake, so you only realise you have been duped when you try to get in.

So how do you protect yourself?

How to avoid ticket scams (image: Shutterstock)

Offering the impossible

If the site is promising tickets to a gig or sporting event which you know is already sold out, then you know it’s a scam. The fraudsters prey on your desperation, relying on you convincing yourself that everything is legit when it clearly isn’t.

How to avoid ticket scams (Image: Shutterstock)

Don’t buy from unauthorised sources

Check with the event organiser for official ticket distribution lists, so you know who you can deal with.

Make sure you check where the ticket retailer’s office is and whether they have a proper landline and address in this country, rather than simply a PO box.

Don’t go with unauthorised sources, or buying from strangers you meet on social networks.


Check the ticket details

Don’t purchase tickets if they don’t include the block, row and seat details. Without those you won’t know if the tickets exist or not.

Look for the padlock

Only make a purchase from a site that is encrypted for payment. That means you need to look out for the closed padlock in the website address bar. Make sure the URL begins ‘https’ too.

Pay by credit card

If you are making a purchase of over £100, always pay by credit card as you get extra rights. It means that the credit card provider is jointly liable for delivering on the purchase, so if it turns out to be a scam, you should get your money back.


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