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Northern Ireland police warn of ticket scams

Police in Northern Ireland are warning music fans not to fall for scams when trying to get hold of tickets for concerts, after figures show that fraudsters last year conned people out of close to £300,000 in the province.

Data from Action Fraud shows nationally in the UK £6.7 million was lost to this type of crime in the past year, although the figure only includes reported crime, and it’s believed many fans do not report losses to the authorities. In Northern Ireland, the total reported losses came in at £291,344.36 with 299 reports made.

Chair of ScamwiseNI Partnership, chief superintendent Gerard Pollock notes that not only does this fraud leave people out of pocket financially, but will also leave them left outside at the doors of concert venues. “We’ve had reports of people buying tickets through social media platforms, thinking they’re getting the real deal only to find out the money they’ve shelled out is to someone who isn’t genuine, and the tickets they’ve paid hundreds of pounds for never existed in the first place,” says Pollock.

“With some big names on tour this summer, demand is always high for those concerts which have in reality been sold out months in advance. Avid fans are being exploited, often by organised criminals, in the hope of seeing their heroes live.”

“Too often, we see reports of tickets that don’t materialise at all, or are just screenshots of genuine tickets that won’t get you any farther than the ticket barrier”

In its campaign to protect fans from falling victim to the scammers, Police Service Northern Ireland state that ticket fraud often involves the use of images and graphics taken from genuine sellers to make fake websites look like the real deal. Advertisements or offers may appear genuine, but there will be subtle differences buyers should look closely at, such as the website address.

A recent example includes a report of a person who thought they’d bought Taylor Swift tickets for £400 via an online ‘Buy and Sell’ page. The person was then asked to pay a further sum of money for a change of name, which they did. Once all the money was transferred, the buyer was blocked by the seller. The tickets never arrived, and the person was swindled out of their money. Another instance saw someone losing £600 over fake Taylor Swift tickets.

With summer gigs and events fast approaching, CS Pollock says people should only buy tickets from legitimate, authorised ticket sellers and resellers as criminals will exploit the eagerness by fans to get their hands on tickets for a show or gig they really want to go to.

“I would also urge parents buying tickets for children and young adults going to a concert, and those who make a last-minute decision to go to a concert, to be really cautious when buying your ticket,” says Pollock. “Too often, we see reports of tickets that don’t materialise at all, or are just screenshots of genuine tickets that won’t get you any farther than the ticket barrier.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”

“The safest way to ensure tickets bought are genuine is to purchase them from the authorised ticket seller or authorised re-seller. We’d also advise against buying tickets from other sources, such as third parties because you can never be sure of the validity and authenticity of the tickets. When purchasing a ticket from a reseller you should also check the re-sale or transfer policy for that concert, often there are strict policies regarding how tickets can be sold or transferred, breaching these can mean your ticket is invalid.”

The Police Service is urging people to follow its ‘Stop. Check. Report.’ advice to recognise signs of ticket fraud before getting caught. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” warns Pollock.

STOP – Whilst it’s always tempting to rush in and buy those hot tickets, don’t rush into buying a ticket. Do not transfer money by bank transfer and only pay by a protect payment method.

CHECK – Check the website or re-seller you are buying from before you buy. Check the event’s ticket re-sale policy to make sure tickets re-sold remain valid, or if there is a designated resale agent, or specific policies for that event or venue. Check the venue / event’s own website. If you have bought a ticket and you are concerned about the validity of it check with the event on its validity.

REPORT – If you lose money in a ticket fraud, don’t just shake it off, report it to police at www.psni.police.uk/report or to your bank. You can also report to Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling police.

 


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Singapore sees huge surge in concert ticket scams

Singapore has seen a massive uptick in concert ticket scams, with reports that consumers have lost at least S$518,000 (€352,000) in the first half of 2023.

This amount is more than 50% higher than in the past five years combined, with S$84,000 lost in 2018; S$66,000 in 2019; S$9,000 in 2020; S$3,000 in 2021; S$175,000 in 2022.

These figures were reported by the minister for home affairs and law (MHA), K. Shanmugam, in response to a question by a member of parliament about the financial toll of such scams over the past five years.

The amount lost in the first half of 2023 is more than 50% higher than in the past five years combined

According to Shanmugam, the MHA is taking a “multi-faceted approach” to deal with scams, including the blocking of scam content, enhancing safeguards on digital platforms and public education.

He added that the police are working closely with social media and e-commerce platforms to remove scam advertisements for concert tickets, as well as accounts involved in such scams, as soon as these are detected.

In July, MHA passed the Online Criminal Harms Act, which will allow the government to order online platforms to disable online criminal content and activities, including scams.

 


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