Online Fraud: How to Avoid a Ticket Scam

Imagine that you’ve managed to somehow secure tickets to see your favourite band. As time goes by, you begin to steadily realise that the coach that’s supposed to be picking you up is nowhere to be seen. You’re left by the side of the road, missing the performance and unsure of what to do. Tragic, isn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly what happened to Take That fans this year. Fraudster Simon Webb managed to gain £65,000 while selling fake gig tickets to fans. Subsequently, he’s been imprisoned for 16 months.

But how would you stop this from happening to you?

Fan Market

July and August are hotspot times for fraudulent tickets – 50% of all reported fraudulent tickets occur in these two months. Because fans are so…well…fanatic, illegal ticket sellers know they have a vulnerable target demographic that they can exploit; especially when it comes to certain followers…naming no names (*cough* Beliebers *cough* Directioners).

46% of fraudulent tickets are bought online. The best advice really is to directly buy your tickets from the box office or official agent. If you really want to look for a bargain, do your research and only deal with reputable ticket sellers. Be wary of any unbelievably good deals.


Yes, you can buy tickets off eBay, but don’t directly transfer cash into another person’s bank account, to pay for the item. Use PayPal instead, which is a secure server. If you go through them, they will give you your money back, should the paid-for item never arrive or meet the seller’s description. Although you will have to raise this issue within 45 days of the payment, that’s a pretty fair deal.

Also, if you plan to buy off eBay, always check the seller’s reviews and feedback. Talk to the seller through eBay mail to enquire about the payment method, delivery, and other important things. Take note if the ticket is a picture off the band’s website or if it’s a real life image. Check what else the seller is flogging: if it’s a lot of expensive items, which seem completely unrelated and suspicious, think twice about doing business.

Credit Cards

If you won’t or can’t use PayPal, pay by credit card; this means you have a line of defence against fraud. Even if you don’t get to go to your concert because of criminal ticket-selling, you’ll get your money back, which is some consolation. Your card provider is jointly liable for any goods you purchase. Paying by debit cards won’t afford you this simple protection, so it’s almost worth opening up a credit card just to cover big, online purchases…just in case something goes terribly wrong. Then you won’t be out of pocket, at least!

Report the Incident

Think you’ve become a victim of fraud? Report your case to Action Fraud and learn from your mistakes in the future. We hope you get to see your band soon! Even if it’s Take That.

Composed for Burton Copeland criminal solicitors – they focus on a variety of criminal law claims and look to present topical opinions on the subject, helping increase awareness.




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