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Music and sports fans at risk of huge rise in online ticket fraud, warn councils

People desperate to attend major pop concerts, music festivals and sporting events this summer face a greater risk of falling victim to criminals after online ticket fraud soared by 55 percent.

More than £5 million was lost to online ticket fraud in the UK in 2015 - up from £3.35 million in 2014 - with social media sites now accounting for nearly half of all reported ticket scams. On average, customers who bought fake tickets lost £444 per transaction.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is urging music and sports fans to be wary of buying fake or non-existent tickets. It is also calling on social media sites to do more to crack down on online ticket fraud.

More than a quarter (26 percent) of fake tickets sold online in 2015 were for big sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup and Premier League football matches. Bogus tickets to gigs and festivals accounted for 15 percent. More than a fifth (21 percent) of ticket fraud was instigated via Facebook, with Gumtree accounting for 22 percent and Twitter 6 percent.

Advice on buying tickets:

  • Avoid purchasing tickets if they do not include the block, row, and seat details. Without these details there is no way to determine if the tickets exist or not. 
  • Always check with the event organiser for official ticket distribution lists and never buy from unauthorised sources, particularly through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
  • If you are engaging with unofficial sellers you should always research the seller/company thoroughly online. If it is a company, check how long they have been registered at Companies House (the longer the better - if they recently registered it could be a scam). Check the seller or company online for unfavourable reviews on Site JabberTrust Pilot or Feefo and beware of false positive reviews.
  • Always pay for tickets by credit card and never pay by direct transfer - the card issuer is jointly liable for a failure for goods or services to be provided as long as the price of a single ticket is over than £100.
  • Only make purchases from sites encrypted for payment - look for the padlock in the address bar.
  • For more advice visit National Trading Standards Festival Purchasing Checklist at
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