Scamwatch: Alton Towers ticket scam

Jess Bown
Scamwatch: beware new Alton Towers ticket scam
Scamwatch: beware new Alton Towers ticket scam

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.

See also: Don't fall for this EasyJet scam on Facebook

See also: Fraud increasingly affecting males in their 20s

This week, we issue a warning about a dodgy social media theme park offer that Alton Towers has called out as a scam.

How does it work?

Theme park Alton Towers has taken to Twitter to warn potential visitors about a new, cheap ticket scam circulating on social media.

The company made the move after being alerted to a deal from website UK Group Deals, which is advertising a fake, 60% off deal for a park ticket along with fast track access, coming in at just £21.20.

"We're aware of this scam circulating the web on 'ukgroupdeals'," Alton Towers said on Twitter. "This is NOT official or affiliated with Alton Towers Resort in any way."

The theme park has since said that it is working with authorities to remove the website, which has also been offering similar discounts for Thorpe Park, the London Eye and the National Sea Life Centre in London.

How can I avoid being caught out?

The criminals behind scams of this kind are often after your personal details.

So be wary of giving your card details to secure deals you find on social media without first checking the brand is "verifed" by Facebook and Twitter.

You can do this easily by checking whether there is a blue tick on the company's profile.

If you're invited to click on an URL, meanwhile, hover over the link to see the address it will take you to – and do not click on it unless the address looks genuine.

This is important as simply clicking on a bogus link could allow fraudsters to download dangerous malware to your computer, tablet or phone.

Another easy way to spot social media frauds is to check the spelling and grammar used. If the English is poor, you can be pretty certain it's a scam.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you receive a suspicious message from a company such as Alton Towers, you should report it to the company via a separately sourced email address, for example, and then block the sender.

You can also report scams of this kind to the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040), which can give you advice about your next steps.