A Facebook spokesperson has said the social network is “taking action to stop” ticket fraud, two months after agreeing a £3 million legal settlement over scam adverts on its platform.
The social media giant in January agreed to launch a dedicated tool to report scam ads; donate £3m to a new Citizens Advice project to help tackle online fraud; and cover the legal costs of Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert founder, who brought the suit after more than 1,000 scam ads using his name or image appeared on the site.
While the scam-reporting button is due to be rolled out in May, a Times Money investigation has revealed that “fraudsters are blitzing the fan pages of pop stars with messages claiming that they have tickets for gigs and asking those interested to send them direct messages. Once a user sends money for the tickets to an account online, the scammers disappear.”
IQ revealed last August that ticket resellers are increasingly touting for business on Facebook, setting up unofficial Events pages to lure fans away from primary outlets and to secondary sites. However, the ‘resellers’ named in the Times article appear to be purely fraudulent, offering tickets they don’t have and never will.
Facebook: the next secondary ticketing battleground?
One particularly notorious scammer, ‘Sammie-Lou Teasley’, has reportedly posted on fan pages across Facebook claiming to have multiple tickets for acts including Mumford & Sons, George Ezra and the Paper Kites.
One victim, 49-year-old Andy Lopata, paid Teasley £100 for a ticket for Slash at the Hammersmith Apollo in February, arranging for the ticket to be sent to his email address. It never arrived, he says: “She had a conversational style that was very natural,” he tells the Times. “It wasn’t a transactional way of talking and was designed to allow me to take my guard down.”
Facebook says the company has taken down Teasley’s account, and is committed to stamping out fraud elsewhere on the site. “We have removed the account brought to our attention by the Times,” says a Facebook spokesperson. “Fraudulent activity is not tolerated on Facebook, and we are taking action to stop it.”
The UK’s Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (Star) revealed last year that ticket fraud increased 38% between 2015 and 2017, warning that British customers are “continuing to fall prey to deliberate fraudsters”.
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