ticketing scam concept represented by wooden letter tiles on a wooden table with glasses and a book

During the lockdowns, music concerts and other live events were all cancelled and this was not only inconvenient for those who would usually attend live events, but also reduced the opportunities for fraudsters, who usually carry out ticket scams. However, with live events back on the agenda, ticket scams are rife again, as Penny Graham explained to me on my LBC radio show.

84 year old Penny received a phone call from a man who announced himself as being from Cancelledtickets.com. He explained to Penny that his company buys unwanted event tickets and sells them on at a 50% discount off the original price. He asked Penny who she would like to see but she explained it was not really something she was interested in. He asked if she had any children or grandchildren who may be interested and asked who they may like. Penny said she would find out and it was arranged that he would call Penny back the next day.

Penny spoke to her granddaughter, 30 year old Michelle, who asked Penny to find out if there were any tickets available for a ‘Blue’ concert. The next day, when the fraudster called back, Penny asked if there were any ‘Blue’ tickets available and of course he confirmed that Penny was in luck, but she had to buy a minimum of 5 tickets as they were being sold together for a concert in Manchester.

Penny agreed to purchase the tickets and, following the call, she made a bank transfer for £112.50. The tickets never arrived, and when Penny tried to call the phone number she received the call from, it was no longer active.  Penny knew at this point she had been scammed and so she contacted me.

A good ending

Luckily I was able to help Penny as I contacted Antony Costa from Blue and he very kindly organised tickets for her. I have also advised Penny to ask her bank to refund her under the Authorised Push Payment Scam Code. If a bank is signed up to the Code, it must reimburse APP scam victims, unless the victim has been negligent by ignoring warnings.

The Code requires that banks MUST reimburse customers if they were vulnerable, and my view is Penny was vulnerable, given her age.

My 5 tips to avoid ticket scams

  1. Check with the event organiser for official ticket distribution lists, so you know who you can trust.
  2. Always opt for a ticket seller who is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). This means you will be buying from a firm that has agreed to follow strict governing standards and will provide you with a route of redress via STAR’s ADR scheme if something goes wrong. You can check if a seller is a member of STAR by logging on to https://www.star.org.uk/
  3. Never buy from unauthorised sources, nor from strangers who contact you online or outside of the events venue.
  4. Only make a purchase from a site that is encrypted for payment. That means you need to look out for the ‘closed padlock’ in the website address bar.

Make sure the URL also begins with ‘https’ – the ‘s’ stands for secure.

  1. Check your ticket carefully, does it contain full details of where you will be seated/standing and does it look genuine?

Pay by credit card

If the tickets cost at least £100.01, pay by credit card as this will give you extra rights, meaning you will be able to make a Section 75 claim and accordingly get your money back if it turns out to be scam, or if something else goes wrong.