Beyoncé and One Direction fans should be on their guard - as they are the most likely groups to be targeted by ticket fraudsters. However, at this time of year, the experts warn, we are all more likely to fall victim to these criminals.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has highlighted that May, June and July are the key months for concert ticket fraud. Last year a third of all reported fakes were sold during these three months.
This is likely to be because of the number of high-profile tours taking place in the summer. Fans are desperate for tickets to see idols like Beyoncé and One Direction, so when they come across a hard-to-find ticket for sale, they are more likely to be duped.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: "It can sometimes be tempting to buy from sources other than official websites if you're desperate to get tickets to see your favourite band this summer. Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target."
In total there was £3.35 million of ticket fraud in 2014, with each victim losing an average of £250. There was a big spike in the number of teenagers becoming victims of the fraud. This is partly because fraudsters have turned their attention to snaring their victims though social media. Facebook was mentioned in 12% of all frauds reported to police - an increase of 8% from the previous year.
The experts at Get Safe Online warn that the nature of social media - providing contact with so many people you don't know in the real world - means it carries real risks for people who use it to source concert tickets. Unsurprisingly, nearly three quarters of victims said the first contact they had with the fraudster was on the internet.
Neate says: "Contact via the internet is ideal for these criminals as they are able to 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. E-ticketing fraud is also an increasing threat. Although convenient for people, it is much easier for offenders to copy and sell multiple tickets that you think are genuine, yet when you attend the event, the ticket is no longer valid as someone has already been admitted."
The experts warn that when you buy tickets for high-profile concerts that have sold out - or are likely to - it's important to make sure the site and person you buy from is legitimate. It recommends you only buy from the venue box office, promoter, official agent or a reputable ticket exchange site. If you are approached by a seller you do not recognise, do not respond to them.
Wherever possible, they suggest you should always use a payment card to purchase tickets rather than via bank transfers directly into someone's account, otherwise you won't be covered if anything goes wrong. A credit card offers additional protection if the item never shows up - as you may be able to reclaim the cost from the credit card company.
Before you put your card details into the website, you should check it is secure in three ways. There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, the web address should start with https, and if you are using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner should turn green.
If you choose to buy tickets from an individual, do not transfer money directly into their account. Instead use PayPal, which transfers money between two electronic accounts and offers additional protection.
Check the terms
You should read the terms and conditions too. Joe Rindsland from Gumtree says: "You should check that the tickets can be resold. Our advice is to always independently check the re-sale terms of the event before even thinking about buying tickets." If you do decide to buy from an individual, he says you should: "Meet face-to-face in a safe, public environment to ensure they are real. Finally, you should only buy official tickets issued by the vendor."
DCI Matt Bradford, Deputy Head of the City of London Police's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau added that it's also important to ask plenty of questions about the ticket, the face value, seat number, the type of ticket, and when they will be dispatched. He says it's also worth approaching the event organiser, promoter or venue to ask how tickets are being distributed - to see whether this matches up with what the seller is telling you.
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