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Football fans warned after surge in counterfeit ticket scams

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

With the start of the football season just a fortnight away, new research has revealed that ticket scams are on the rise as fans scrabble to see their favourite teams.

New research from Lloyds Bank, based on analysis from its own customers over fraud cases, found that the number of fans who were stung buying counterfeit tickets had doubled last season compared to the season before.

The scams are costly, with the victims of ticket fraud losing £154 on average. Lloyds also discovered that the scams began on just three different platforms which were Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Preying on fan loyalty

Loyal football supporters are desperate to see their teams in big games where there can be a shortage of tickets. It’s an equation that creates a fertile hunting ground for fraudsters, who look to cash in where tickets are in high demand. Those who aged between 18 and 24 are the most likely to be scammed over football tickets. Fake posts on social media or online marketplaces to advertise tickets that do not exist are typical ways to extort money from fans.

Often an image of a genuine ticket is included on the posts to convince supporters that what they are buying is real. Fans who are willing to buy the fake tickets are then tricked into paying for them via bank transfer.

Fans can be unaware that bank transfers were not designed as a conduit to pay for items online, and there is little protection if any transaction was to be proven to be fraudulent. Once any money has been transferred, fraudsters often disappear without a trace.

Man Utd and Liverpool fans most targeted

Perhaps unsurprisingly supporters of the biggest clubs in England are targeted the most, where there is huge demand for tickets as they are often involved in high profile Premier League or Champions League games.

Manchester United and Liverpool fans fell victim the most to ticket frauds last season, alongside those who cheer on Arsenal or Chelsea.

Tickets for major cup finals such as the FA Cup final, and big international matches are also a prime target for football fraudsters.

Tips on buying football tickets

Here are four pointers from Lloyds on how to beat the fraudsters.

Always use your credit card or debit card when you buy tickets, this should help you if anything goes wrong. Those who pay for tickets by credit or debit cards benefit from Section 75 and Chargeback rules, which have been protecting consumers for decades.

Fraudsters use social media to advertise tickets that do not exist, even sending offers straight to your inbox. Always search for a ticket via a trusted source.

Beware of low price offers as they are often used to disguise scams. Tickets for a game that is sold out or in high demand are generally very expensive.

The Premier League is clear that fans should only buy tickets directly from the clubs and has a guide of how to buy tickets safely. Clubs will provide information on official ticket partners on their websites, which could also reveal legitimate ways for tickets to be resold.

Buy direct from clubs with your card

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director, Lloyds Bank, said: “It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us when following our favourite football team, but when it comes to buying tickets for matchday, it’s important fans keep a clear head.

“The vast majority of ticket scams start on Twitter and Facebook, where it’s far too easy for criminals to set up fake profiles and advertise items for sale that simply don’t exist. Social media companies must do more to tackle this issue given the vast majority of fraud starts on their platforms.

“Buying directly from football clubs or their official ticket partners is the only way to guarantee you’re paying for a real ticket, and always use your debit or credit card for maximum safety. If you’re not doing those two things, there’s a big chance you’re going to get scammed.”