Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, is once again warning the public to be careful when buying tickets for a range of sport, music and comedy events, as new figures reveal over £6.7 million was lost to ticket fraud in 2022.
Action Fraud launched a national awareness campaign in April after they received 7,088 reports of ticket fraud in 2022, as the UK enjoyed the first full summer free of Covid-19 restrictions.
July 2022 - the heart of festival season - was one of the worst-affected months, with 747 reported cases of fraud totaling £957,887. There were 23 victims, with an average loss of £1,282 per victim. London had the most reported cases of ticket fraud in 2022, with 1,887, followed by Greater Manchester (383 reports) and the West Midlands (341).
Action Fraud is collaborating with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) to promote safe and secure ticket purchases for summer events, and advises the public to take the necessary precautions.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“Action Fraud has seen a rise in ticket fraud over the past twelve months, as criminals take advantage of people wanting to enjoy more live sport and music.
“We urge people to be wary of ticket sales from unknown websites or people they do not know. Criminals may offer deals on sold-out or exclusive events, however once you have parted with your money, the tickets are either fraudulent or never appear at all.
“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, said:
“Buying from a STAR member means you are buying from an authorised ticket supplier signed up to our strict code of practice. While we hope you never have to use it, this also gets you access to our approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service.
“The UK offers a world-beating array of fabulous events throughout the year. It’s vital that ticket buyers always keep their eyes open and take steps to protect themselves from unscrupulous ticket sellers that prey on their understandable excitement about attending some of the great events on offer.”
Criminals often use social media or scam emails to tempt potential victims into parting with personal information or money. These messages look real, but instead divert to malicious websites which can infect your computer with malware.
The message may appear genuine and from a company or individual that you recognise but do not usually receive communications from. If you feel at all suspicious, report the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your report will help protect many more people from falling victim.
Spot the signs of ticket fraud and protect yourself:
Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.
Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of fraud.
The password you use for your email account, as well as any other accounts you use to purchase tickets, should be different from all your other passwords. Use three random words to create a strong and memorable password, and enable 2-step verification (2SV).
Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Is the vendor a member of STAR? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. For more information visit star.org.uk/buy_safe. They have also produced a STAR Ticket Buying Guide
Action Fraud also advises that the public follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep themselves safe from fraud.
Stop: taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge: could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: if you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).