Music fans are the top targets for ticket fraudsters, new figures reveal.
Festival and gig goers were conned out of almost £1million in 2013 when they bought tickets that were never delivered and most likely never existed in the first place. According to figures released by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), music fans were the target of 25% of scams – 15% concert goers and 10% festival fans. Holidaymakers were hit 22% of the time.
In total, the public was conned out of £3.7m in 2013 by shelling out for dodgy tickets for flights, concerts, festivals, sporting and other events. ACPO says the scams are usually carried out online and that incidents peak during the summer festival season.
The organisation’s national co-ordinator for economic crime, Commander Stephen Head, says: “Year on year, fraudsters are conning the ticketing-buying public out of more and more of their hard-earned cash. Millions of pounds were lost last year and millions more could go the same way in 2014.
“But, for so many consumers, the financial hit is not the hardest pill to swallow. It is the fact that these thieves have robbed them of a magical moment and deprived them of memories that last a lifetime - the chance to cheer their team to victory or call for an encore from their favourite artist in the company of family, friends and other fans gone.
“The key to avoiding the conmen and securing that ‘golden ticket’ is to only buy from a venue’s box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange website. Taking a punt on an unofficial seller, be it over the internet or face-to-face, is just not worth the risk.”
Commander Head adds that the music and travel industries should do more to protect consumers from such scams. He says: “I am calling on the industry to take a long hard look at the way tickets are sometimes sold in this country to ensure their processes are as resilient as they possibly can be to the growing threat of fraud.”
Some of the fraudsters offer to show certificates of authenticity when selling fake tickets, but the advice is to only buy from official outlets and not from online auction or classifieds sites.
In 2008, thousands of people were conned when they bought tickets for that year’s V Festival and Reading & Leeds Festivals, but never received them. The tickets were bought online from a firm called SOS Master Tickets. The firm promised to provide refunds but later shut down its website and seemingly disappeared.
And in 2011, music fans in Scotland were the victim of a scam which saw them pay for tickets to that year’s T In The Park festival, only for the seller to vanish with the money. It is thought thousands of people could have been affected after the conman set up a website with a URL and design almost identical to the festival’s official site.