With the annual music festival and concert season under way, music lovers are warned to be on their guard against getting conned
With the summer music festival and concert season starting to gear up Get Safe Online has issued a reminder for people to beware of increasingly sophisticated online ticket scams.
Around four in 10 people use the internet to search for tickets, and over half of these use general ticketing sites rather than official organiser or reseller sites.
This leaves them wide open to the fraudsters, who con an estimated £168m annually from UK consumers, according to the National Fraud Authority. The average loss per person is around £100 to £200 but it can be far higher.
Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online, said: "Criminals used to have only one opportunity to sell fake tickets - on the day of the event. Now they have access to a huge number of potential victims over a period of months in the run-up to the event.
"Intelligence from law enforcement and industry indicates that as many as half the websites that sell tickets for summer festivals are bogus.
"It's critical that consumers are on their guard when purchasing tickets. We are urging internet users to check with the event organisers for a list of legitimate ticket-selling websites before parting with their money online."
The problem for consumers is the increasing sophistication of these sites. According to Get Safe Online, the web now offers such rich pickings for the fraudsters that people need to be even more aware of the dangers.
Many of the criminals will now pay for search advertising, such as Google Adwords so their bogus sites appear high up on the rankings. People are easily taken in by sites that cleverly mimic official sites; another favourite ploy.
Computeractive has monitored many of these scams, including one involving Ebay and Led Zeppelin tickets and warned the official organisers. The money trail usually leads to countries outside the UK's jurisdiction, but not always.
Another method, according to the internet safety organisation, is to target music fan websites and forums, as well as other social-networking sites. Posts will be displayed from ‘fans' claiming they have bought tickets from a certain site, encouraging those not yet successful in obtaining tickets to visit it.
The City of London Police said it was working with ticketing industry, such as the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (Star), to clamp down on this crime.
Detective Inspector James Clancey of the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate said something had to be done to clamp down on the scams.
"We would like changes made to the way tickets are sent to people. At the moment there is a huge time lag which works in the criminals' favour. We would like to see the tickets sent immediately they were paid for. Then if a person doesn't get their ticket they can report this to Action Fraud," he told us.
"It may be that what we suggest will work; it may not," he added.
People who are victims of online ticket scams should report this crime to Action Fraud, said Get Safe Online.
Photo courtesy John Robert Charlton.
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