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How to spot the tell-tale signs of ticket fraud

If you are thinking of buying tickets to a live event this year, remember to look out for the signs of ticket fraud and follow our guidance.

Criminals either set up fake websites or social media profiles to sell tickets for major events (such as sports, music or theatre) that are either fraudulent or don’t exist.

Websites may even look like  the organisation's genuine site  but subtle changes in the URL can indicate that it’s fraudulent.

Criminals might have used images of genuine tickets to commit fraud. They may get in touch via text, email, DM or message to advertise fake tickets. They create fake posts or pages on social media to scam those looking for tickets.

You may be sent or given tickets only to be told they are fake when you arrive at the venue/festival.

The safest method is to always book tickets through official sellers that are members of the self-regulatory body (the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)) as anything else could be a scam.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“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.”

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 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 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 Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).



The contents of blog posts on this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. EMCRC provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us by email.


EMCRC does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this blog. EMCRC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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