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Fake-ticket holders force entry into Pakistan’s Solis fest

The organisers of Solis festival in Islamabad, Pakistan, brought the event to a close on Saturday (15 February), as “hundreds” of individuals with fake tickets “fought their way” into the venue.

Solis Music and Arts Festival, which has run for three previous editions, was due to feature electronic acts including Dannic, Mike Williams, Julian James and Fdvm at the 1,000-capacity Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).

However, the event was called off after audience members climbed onto a VIP stage, causing it to collapse. Organisers claimed the culprits were fake-ticket holders, who had stormed the venue after being denied entry.

“We chose the venue and our security based on the number of tickets sold and made arrangements based on this,” stated organisers.

“We warned against fake tickets on numerous occasions. However, we underestimated the sheer volume of thousands of “fake tickets” that were being sold illegally.

“These people were denied entry, but broke our barricades and forced themselves in”

“These people were denied entry, but broke our barricades and forced themselves in, climbing on VIP platforms which couldn’t take the weight and destroyed our stage putting everyone’s safety at risk.”

Many on social media have criticised festival organisers, citing “mismanagement” and a “lack of security”. Some audience members reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault following the stage collapse.

An inquiry is now underway to determine what happened at the event, with Deputy Commissioner for Islamabad, Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, stating that the festival organisers “will not be allowed any future event in Islamabad”.

Organisers, on the other hand, state that the incident will not prevent the event from going ahead in Islamabad in the coming years, saying: “We will learn and persevere and keep giving Pakistan an experience they haven’t had before, much like we have done in the past.”


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Zim promoters hurt by fake ticket scam

Concert promoters in Zimbabwe have been left counting their losses after a fake ticket scam hit Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, over the festive period.

Bogus tickets for major shows – including South African rapper Sjava at the 12,000-cap. Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) – flooded the market in December, according to the Bulawayo Chronicle, with people attempting to enter concerts using fake stubs.

Scams involving fake concert tickets are common in parts of southern Africa. Drake fans in South Africa were recently duped into spending up to R18,000 (US$1,250) for VIP ‘tickets’ for non-existent dates in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Promoter Patrice Manyathela, who is organising Amapiano Kings, a show by South African artists DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small at the BAC this Saturday (25 January), tells the Chronicle: “There are fake tickets circulating and this has gotten us worried. We don’t want to resort to it, but if a person buys a fake ticket and gets caught, they’ll be handed over to the police.”

According to Statista, the emerging Zimbabwean live music market will be worth US$4 million 2020 – up 23.1% year on year – though just 300,000 people (1.8% of the population) will see a concert.


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Ticket to nowhere: festival ticket scams on the rise

International consumer and wholesale bank Barclays has issued a warning to festivalgoers this summer who are at risk of losing £179 on average from ticketing scams.

New research carried out by the bank has shown that 26% of those aged between 25 and 34 have fallen victim to a ticketing scam, proving the most at risk age-group of those surveyed.

The bank also finds that scammers tend to target the same festivalgoer more than once, with 37% of victims saying they had fallen for at least three different ticketing scams in the last two years.

Barclays warns that fake ticketing websites and social media personas are the most common form of scam, with a bank transfer being the preferred method of payment for criminals.

The data reveals that fans are aware of the risk of buying tickets from unofficial sources, such as through a social media group, yet 40% of 25 to 34 year olds admitted they would be prepared to use social media to secure tickets, despite the risks.

Facebook has become a popular platform for ticket touts and scammers, who set up unofficial events pages or heavily advertise tickets on the official pages for artists or events.

“As we enter the festival season, it is easy to forget our online safety as people look to secure their must-have tickets”

In January, the social media giant committed to take action against ticket fraud, promising to launch a tool to report fake ads and donate £3 million to a project dedicated to tackling fraud.

“As we enter the festival season, it is easy to forget our online safety as people look to secure their must-have tickets,” comments Barclays head of digital safety, Ross Martin.

“Yet, we should all be aware of the risks when purchasing tickets and make sure we are carrying out proper safety checks, to ensure our festival experience is not ruined by fraudsters.”

The bank urges fans to ensure they buy tickets from legitimate sources, checking if websites are part of the UK’s Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and are listed as an approved ticket seller on the festival website.

Further instructions warn against buying tickets advertised at heavily discounted prices, using payment pages that do not display a padlock symbol in the web address and purchasing from sellers insisting on payment by bank transfer.

Data released by STAR last year indicated that ticket fraud in the UK has been rising steadily on the past few years.

More details on how to stay safe when buying festival tickets can be found here.


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Singapore police warn against online ticket scams

Upcoming concerts from popular K-pop boy bands WINNER and iKON have prompted police in Singapore to warn concertgoers about the risk of fake tickets associated with buying online.

Scams involving the sale of concert tickets remain prevalent in Singapore, with police reporting at least 120 incidents last year alone. Victims were either sent fake or invalid tickets or did not receive tickets at all, in all cases after payments had been made.

In a bid to encourage smarter and safer online shopping practises, Singapore police have provided prospective concertgoers with a set of three guidelines for buying tickets online. Singaporeans are advised not to be impulsive, not to be taken in by fake IDs or documents and not to give advance payments or deposits.

“Try to use shopping platforms that release your payment to the seller only upon receipt of the item”

Singapore police are putting particular emphasis on purchasing tickets from reputable and authorised sellers. “Try to use shopping platforms that release your payment to the seller only upon receipt of the item,” they warn.

“Alternatively, arrange to meet the seller and contact the authorised ticketing service provider (e.g. SISTIC, Sports Hub Tix etc.) to check the authenticity/validity of the tickets prior to making payment.”

Stories of concert hopefuls being scammed out of hundred of dollars have made headlines in Singapore in recent times. One unfortunate victim lost over S$400 to a scam, receiving just blank sheets of paper in the post instead of tickets for a JJ Lin concert. With category one tickets for the concert usually selling for close to $700, the woman, only identified by media as Ms Tan, thought she had found a good deal.

It is thought the same scammer has done the same to many others, using Facebook and elaborate stories to convince people into parting with their cash. Similar events have occurred in the UK, with ticket fraud up 38% in 2017 according to the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers.


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Ticket fraud up 38% in UK

The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) has warned that ticket fraud in the UK continues to increase, as the ticketing industry body celebrates its 20th year in business.

New data released today by STAR and Action Fraud, the UK’s national cybercrime reporting centre, reveal there were 3,973 reported instances of ticket fraud in Britain over a six-month period in 2017 – over a thousand more than the 2,885 reported in the same period in 2015, a near 38% increase in two years.

The average value of loss, however, declined slightly, to £195.

“What these latest figures show is just how important it is to have an organisation like STAR in place,” comments Adrian Sanders, the association’s chairman. “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.

“Customers are still too easily being tricked”

“Purchasing from a STAR member ensures you are buying from a company that has signed up to the high standards of our code. It also means you have somewhere to turn to in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.”

In April, STAR announced more than 1,500 people had tried to buy tickets from a fake ticket agency, Surfed Arts, set up by it, Action Fraud and the City of London police.

STAR held its inaugural meeting in December 1997, and began its work as the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry in 1998. Members of STAR, which include every major authorised ticket agency in the UK, agree and work to a strict code of practice.

Commenting on its 20th anniversary, which also sees STAR roll out a new website, chief executive Jonathan Brown says: “The ticketing industry has evolved enormously over the past twenty years, but the core values of what STAR was founded on remain unchanged. Customers deserve the very highest standards when it comes to purchasing tickets, and the work STAR has done, and continues to do, ensures that its members remain reputable and accountable for every transaction.”


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Promoter warns fans over fake tickets scam

Promoter Peter Aiken issued a warning to fans about only buying tickets through official channels, after over 90 people bought fake tickets to two concerts in the last week.

He says more than 60 people who bought tickets for ZZ Top at Dublin’s 3Arena were denied entry because of fake tickets, while 30 had counterfeits for a Brian Wilson gig at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in the city.

The Irish Times reports one man spent €1,000 on two tickets to see Brian Wilson, but had to be turned away when it was discovered they were false because the show was sold out.

In a statement, the promoter warned: “Following the ZZ Top and Brian Wilson Concerts in Dublin last week, Aiken Promotions would like to warn fans once again against purchasing tickets from secondary websites.

“At ZZ Top on Friday, at least 60 people turned up at the venue who had bought tickets through secondary websites. These tickets were not valid which caused distress and disappointment to these fans. Unfortunately it is not likely these people will get the money they paid refunded.

“As a promoter, it is extremely frustrating to see people being exploited like this and I would like to emphasise once again that fans should not purchase tickets from ANY secondary sellers.”


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Woman sentenced for promoting bogus Sheryl Crow show

A New Jersey woman has pled guilty to ‘third-degree theft by deception’ after being caught selling tickets to a non-existent Sheryl Crow concert.

Burlington Township resident Kelly Bryan admitted the charge at Burlington County Courthouse in Mount Holly yesterday. The Burlington County Times reports that Bryan faces up to five years of probation when she is sentenced on 14 June, and will also have to pay between US$20,000 and $30,000 in restitution.

The phoney concert was supposed to have taken place at the Flying W Airport resort in Lumberton – really an airstrip for small prop planes – on 15 August 2015. Between December 2014 and May 2015, Bryan sold tickets to the ‘show’  through a company called KBR Promotion and Booking Agency (presumably for Kelly Bryan, although it also apparently stood for Kreate Bands Realitiy [sic]) and even booked vendors.

However, when Lumberton police learnt of the concert in May and contacted the resort to begin planning public safety measures, it emerged that Crow was not booked to perform.

Between 50 and 100 people were defrauded by KBR, although many who paid online have already been reimbursed.