10 most common scams: Ticket fraud


silhouettes of concert crowd in front of bright stage lights

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, ticket fraud, which is when you go online to buy tickets that do not arrive or turn out to be fake.

How does it work?
Most people now use the internet to buy tickets for everything from music festivals to football matches.

But while most online ticket purchases go without a hitch, a growing number of scam ticket websites are popping up.

These sites often offer you the chance to get hold of tickets to events that are sold out, then take your money and either never deliver any tickets or send you fake ones.

In some cases, ticket purchasers are told that a representative will meet them to give them the tickets on the day, but nobody turns up.

How can I avoid being caught out?
It is relatively easy for criminals to set up a fake ticketing website. However, there are some easy ways you can check a site is legitimate before making a purchase.

These include checking up on the site with the event organiser, promoter or venue and looking into whether the company has a proper UK address and landline phone number, rather than just a PO Box.

Other steps you can take to protect yourself include checking forums to see if other people have had a bad experience with the site, making sure the payment page is secure by looking for a padlock symbol in the address bar and a website address that begins with "https" and paying by credit card.

This last measure gives you extra protection thanks to credit card providers being jointly liable if goods or services fail to be delivered (although this is only the case if the ticket or tickets are worth at least £100).

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
If you are caught out by ticket fraudsters, the first thing to do is report the crime to the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) and get a crime reference number.

Then, contact your credit card company (or your bank if you paid by debit card) to see if you can get a refund that way.

If that doesn't work, it is also worth checking whether your home insurance policy offers fraud protection.

Other common scams
Car fraud
Boiler rooms
Auction websites

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The biggest scams of 2013