Top tips to avoid ticket scammers online
According to Scamwatch, Australians lost $167,398 to online ticket scams for sporting events, music festivals and concerts last year.
Official event organisers have a strong online presence. Unfortunately so do scammers, who often take advantage of major events where tickets are hard to buy or sell out quickly, as an opportunity to sell you fake tickets.
When basketball fanatic, Andrew, saw tickets available online to a sold out USA versus Boomers game in Melbourne, he jumped at the opportunity.
“The website had tickets advertised at lower price points, but still looked legitimate and even included features like venue seating arrangements,” Andrew said.
“I made the purchase via bank transfer and received an email ‘confirmation’ saying my e-tickets would be available the week of the game. The email said that to access the tickets I had to log into my account, but I didn’t create an account when purchasing the tickets, therefore could not access the website,” he said.
Andrew received no further contact, was unable to find any contact details on the website, nor anywhere to lodge a dispute or refund. He remains out of pocket for the money he paid the scammer.
*Story is based on a real case study but the name has been changed.
So how do you make sure you’re buying from an authorised seller and not a scammer?
Visit the official event website or social media pages
- Look for authorised sellers and whether tickets are still available. A site that lacks this information as well as general contact details can be a red flag that it’s a scam.
- Usually you can sign up to email updates from the official promoter or follow the venue or event’s social media pages, to be kept updated if new ticket allocations become available at a later date.
- If you’re unsure whether a site is genuine from a browser search or message, before clicking on it hover over that link with your curser to see the actual web address it will take you to (usually shown at the bottom of your browser window). If you do not recognise or trust the address, steer clear! Learn other tips to spot a scam (phishing) site or message.
- A request for unusual payment method, such as by bank transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrencies is a sign that it’s a scam, and you’re unlikely to recover your money if you pay by these means.
- Instead, use secure payment methods like PayPal, BPay or your credit card – as there are often dispute resolution processes if things go pear-shaped.
- If paying by PayPal, select the ‘payment for goods/services’ option. If a seller instructs you to make the payment ‘to friends and family’ rather than ‘payment for goods’ this violates PayPal’s policies and voids the buyer protections.
- If purchasing a ticket through an online classified site from someone who can no longer attend, meet them in person first to inspect the ticket before making the payment.
- Stay up to date with the latest online threats and how to manage them – sign up to our free email Alert Service and follow us on Facebook.
- Visit our website for more tips on shopping safely online this holiday season.
- Be on the lookout for scam ticketed fundraising activities for bushfire appeals. You can report suspicious appeals to the ACCC’s dedicated reporting line for bushfire related scams on 1300 795 995 or at www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam. For more information visit www.accc.gov.au/update/bushfires-and-scams