Santander issues football ticket scam warning ahead of Euro 2024

Santander has warned that football ticket scams rose by 82% last year and could get worse ahead of Euro 2024 kicking off this summer. Here’s how to avoid getting fouled

UEFA EURO 2024 Football ticket scams warning
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Football fans looking to buy last-minute Euro 2024 tickets have been warned about ticket scams.

In the wake of holiday scams, WhatsApp recruitment fraud, romance scams, copycat banking and credit card frauds, it’s important to remain vigilant and avoid getting caught out this summer.

New Santander data revealed that football fans lost over £113k last year to ticket scams, and could risk losing over £200k this year. This is mainly due to the 17th UEFA European Championship kicking off this summer in Germany. 

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

And with Berlin being one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit, football fans will be keen to make sure their money goes as far as it can in the German capital. 

But when tickets for big events are scarce or in high demand, fraudsters know they can cash in on desperate fans willing to pay much more. 

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander said: “For many fans, this will be the first Euros since 2016 they can attend due to the pandemic, and with both England and Scotland qualifying, we know many will be desperate to get their hands on tickets to the big games.

“Unfortunately, criminals know this too, and they’ll be looking for ways to exploit fans’ excitement and extort money from them. Avoid scoring an own goal by getting scammed off the pitch - so you can enjoy the action on it.”

We look at what kind of football ticket scams are doing the rounds and explain how to stay safe. 

Rise in football ticket scams

New Santander data shows that customers lost £113,103 to football ticket scams last year. This is a rise of a staggering 82% from the year before. 

The situation is especially bad for 19-34-year-olds who face the highest risk of falling victim to these scams. 

Based on the amounts already lost to football ticket scams, Santander estimates that £200,000 is at risk of being stolen by fraudsters this year due to Euro 2024.

But, if you look at the bigger picture, the impact could be much worse. Santander warns that around 1,100 football ticket scam victims could be looking at losing an eye-watering £780,000 between them. 

Last year’s figures show that, similar to social media investment scams, a majority of these football ticket scams took place on social media channels. Facebook accounted for more than half of all ticket scams, while ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) was to blame for 15% of such frauds.

But how exactly do fans get caught out? We look at the tricks scammers use to steal innocent fans’ money. 

How to spot football ticket scams

One way they do this is by creating fake posts on social media or online marketplaces to advertise tickets that don’t exist. The emergence of ChatGPT has also led to a rise in AI scams, such as seemingly convincing emails and messages.  

Often scammers will include pictures of real tickets to convince the unsuspecting buyer that they are genuine. The victim is tricked into sending money via bank transfer. Once the money has been transferred, the fraudster simply disappears, and the victim receives no tickets.

However, Lloyds Bank points out that many consumers are unaware that bank transfers were not designed as a way of paying for things online as they offer little protection if something goes wrong.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, says: “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.” 

How to stay safe when buying Euro 2024 tickets

The best way to avoid a football ticket scam is to only purchase tickets from official vendors. UEFA has made it clear that while all tickets have been sold out, should any become available, they should only be purchased from the official UEFA website. 

Similar to other scams, it’s a good idea to never pay using bank transfer or PayPal. Instead, opt for safer methods like debit or credit cards. Those who pay for tickets by credit or debit card benefit from the well-established Section 75 and Chargeback rules, which have been protecting consumers for decades.

The regulation, part of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, means your card provider is “jointly and severally liable” for your purchases. This means that if you pay for something with your credit card, the lender is just as liable as the company you made the purchase from if something goes wrong.

As such, your card provider is legally required to help. It also covers services bought with a credit card, such as flights and accommodation – well worth being aware of if you’re planning on following your team around Europe or elsewhere in the world.

“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,” adds Ziegler. “If you’re not doing those two things, there’s a big chance you’re going to get scammed.” 

Oojal Dhanjal
Staff writer

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money. Before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals. Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues. Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.