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Avoiding fake ticket scammers

18/04/2023

Protect yourself when buying tickets to events.

Excitement of learning your favourite act or band is coming to your city can quickly be replaced by disappointment if you miss out on tickets.

Naturally, you might be inclined to look out for tickets to the event being sold privately or through other digital platforms.

But before you hand over your cold hard cash, be aware that fake ticket scams are on the rise and they don’t just impact music concerts. Festivals, sporting tournaments and stage shows have all been plagued by fake-ticket fraud.

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from scammers.

What are fake ticket scams?

Fake ticket scams are simply another form of fraudulent activity where scammers sell counterfeit, forged, or non-existent tickets to events. You often don’t find out you’ve been scammed until you’re actually at the event trying to get in, and your ticket isn’t accepted.

Scammers often use social media platforms or online marketplaces to advertise tickets for sale. Keep track of events that are in demand and likely to sell out as these are ideal situations for scammers to strike, especially just before the event.

What types of tickets do scammers sell?

Fake tickets can take several forms, including:

  • Counterfeit tickets which look genuine and pretty close to the real ticket
  • Non-existent tickets which you pay for but they never arrive
  • Over-inflated tickets where a scammer will inflate the price of a ticket to exploit demand for a popular event
  • Deeply discounted tickets if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Re-sold tickets where a scammer will create multiple copies of a ticket or sell the same ticket to many different buyers
  • Fake ticket sites are websites which look legit and professional and even have payment gateways, but are just designed to take your money for tickets that never arrive.

What are some red flags?

There are a few ways to ensure you don’t fall for a fake ticket scam:

  1. Read the language carefully. Strange or stilted terminology, typos, grammatical errors in an email, text message or on a website are usually telltale signs of a scam. If something doesn’t sound right, trust your gut.
  2. Look at the price. Sometimes a seller will genuinely offload a ticket at a vastly reduced price, but be wary of tickets that are much cheaper than retail prices.
  3. The seller won’t meet you. If the ticket seller is pushy, will only communicate online and refuses a face-to-face meeting to complete the transaction, alarm bells should be ringing.
  4. They want payment in other ways. Sometimes a scammer will ask for payment in the form of vouchers, pre-loaded money cards or gift cards. Steer clear.
  5. They have no digital footprint. Always check who you’re buying from. A scammer operating online will usually have major gaps in their profile or very little info, friends or contacts. Look for details that don’t add up.

Tips for buying legitimate tickets

The best way to buy tickets is through an authorised vendor and by paying through a secure payment method that can be traced. Don’t continue if you’re directed away from a website to complete a payment.

For extra protection, it’s worth downloading the official app of a ticket vendor to avoid dodgy websites all together.

If you do purchase tickets second-hand, requesting printed physical tickets can be a safer option than pdf or e-copies, as a seller can sell the same e-ticket to multiple buyers. If that happens to you, it’s likely you’ll be denied entry to the event.

Report any scams to the hosting platform and share examples of fake tickets and fake ticket emails – and you should also report it to Scamwatch.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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