Just the ticket for safe online purchases

Cyber Security: Has It Clicked?

17 Mar 2016



That online bargain may seem just the ticket when you’re looking to get to festivals, gigs and football matches – but make sure you don’t end up out of pocket.

Last year alone, £93,950 was lost to ticket scams in the North East (which includes the Humberside force area) and nationally, incidents of online ticket fraud rose by 55 per cent.

Today the force and its partner Get Safe Online are offering advice and information on how to avoid being caught out.

During the last 12 months, in Humberside, there were 17 reported incidents – which saw victims from across the UK being conned out of between £25 and £125 for tickets they never received.

Most were for football matches or comedy events, advertised for sale on Twitter or Facebook.

Victims were asked to transfer cash directly to the offender’s bank account and told the tickets would be posted to them, but they never arrived.

In another case, a Scunthorpe family spent £80 on tickets for a Hull City v Chelsea match advertised online, only to be told on their arrival at the game they had been purchased on a stolen credit card and were not valid.

National picture

According to national statistics, those most at risk of buying fake or non-existent tickets are aged between 20 and 29 (28 per cent) followed by those aged 30-39 and 40-49 (23 per cent).

You’re most likely to be scammed when looking for tickets to major sporting events – with more than a quarter of all incidents linked to offences of this kind. This is followed by tickets for gigs and festivals (15 per cent).

However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby from the force cyber crime unit said: “A good rule of thumb is that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

“We would advise people looking for tickets to only buy from official sites where possible and, if you are buying resold tickets, ensure you only purchase them from vendors who have been approved by the event organiser.

“If you do fall victim to ticket fraud, please report it to Action Fraud, so we can identify those behind these scams and shut them down.”

Reduce your risk

You can reduce your risk of being conned by:

  • Ensure you only buy from the venue’s box office, official promoters and agents or reputable ticket exchange sites.
  • Paying by credit card offers more protection than other payment methods.
  • Double check all the details before paying
  • Don’t reply to unsolicited emails from sellers you don’t recognise.
  • Before you enter your payment details ensure the link is secure, by:
  • Ensuring a padlock symbol appears in the browser window frame when you log in or register. Make sure the symbol is not on the page itself.
  • The web address should start with https://. The s stands for secure.
  • Ensure any third-party payment services are secure before you make your payment
  • Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as ‘Verified’ by Visa
  • if you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example on eBay), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy
  • Keep receipts and check your credit card and bank statements carefully to ensure the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction

Expert advice

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online added: “Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target. “Often ticket prices are ramped right up – so you risk losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist. Likewise, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s quite likely that you are being scammed.

“Criminals are clever and often use pre-existing websites or fan forums to help them appear legitimate, or in fact mimic genuine websites to help them dupe their victims into handing over money. Take your time before making a payment and try to do as much research as you can to ensure that the provider or person you are buying from is exactly who they say they are. These criminals will jump at any chance to exploit innocent people, but it’s worth remembering that their scams don’t work without people handing over money.”

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre or by calling 0300 123 20 40.

For further advice on how to stay safe online, visit the Cyber Security: Has It Clicked? pages or go to Get Safe Online.