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Rising ticket fraud cost audiences £1.6m in 2017

Photo: Gary Glaser/Shutterstock
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Entertainment ticket fraud has cost would-be audiences £1.6 million in the six months to October last year, according to new police figures.

New data from the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, and Action Fraud – which reports on fraud and cyber crime for the police – shows that the total recorded losses between May and October 2017 came to £1.66 million.

This is made up of 3,973 individual reported incidences of ticket fraud – when tickets are purchased but don’t arrive, or turn out to be fake. This is an increase from the 2,885 reports recorded over the same period in 2015.

Despite this, the average value of loss per victim has decreased slightly over the past two years, from £205 to £195.

In the six months measured for 2017, the worst month for fraud was June, when audiences lost £423,864 to fraudsters.

David Clark, the City of London Police’s national coordinator for economic crime, said: “Whether people are buying tickets for the theatre, a festival, a concert or a sports event, they need to remain vigilant and be aware that there are fraudsters all over the globe trying to make money out of people’s desire to buy tickets quickly and easily online.

“If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. We recommend that people buy from reputable ticket sellers who are members of STAR.”

Earlier this month, the government confirmed it would push ahead with new laws banning online ticket harvesting software – ‘bots’ – in an attempt to crack down on touting and fraudulent activity in the secondary ticketing market.

STAR chairman Adrian Sanders added: “Sadly, customers are continuing to fall prey to deliberate fraudsters and therefore need to know exactly where they should purchase tickets from safely. Despite the considerable advances in ticket fraud prevention, some customers are still too easily being tricked.”

STAR’s members include major UK ticket agents and venues. The self-regulatory body has provided dispute resolution among its services for members and their customers throughout its 20-year history. However, it has now also been recognised by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute as an official provider of alternative dispute resolution, meaning disputes can be settled outside court.

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