Ticket scam warning ahead of major summer events

A total of £6.7 million was lost to ticket scams last year. With the Taylor Swift Eras tour and Glastonbury Festival coming up, we explain how to stay safe when buying tickets

Taylor Swift Eras tour ticket scam warning
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Festival and concertgoers looking to get last-minute tickets to major events this summer have been asked to stay vigilant against ticket scams. 

According to Action Fraud, a staggering £6.7million was lost to ticket scams in 2023.

Scammers are increasingly sophisticated, so it may be hard to believe something is too good to be true – whether it’s booking holiday packages, getting fake job offers on Whatsapp or catfishing victims into finding their ‘soulmates’

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We have also seen a rise in social media scams tricking millennials into believing that they’re investing towards their future. 

Action Fraud warns that the situation with ticket scams is particularly bad at the moment, due to major summer events like the Glastonbury Festival and the Taylor Swift Eras tour. 

Separate data from Lloyds Bank reveals that Taylor Swift fans are estimated to have already lost more than £1 million since tickets went on sale for the popstar’s Eras tour in June and August.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “We all want to enjoy ticketed events this summer, but that doesn’t stop fraudsters from taking the fun out [of] things we look forward to doing. Too many people are losing out to fraudulent activity or genuine looking phishing messages.”

We look at what kind of ticket scams have been circulating and what you can do to stay safe. 

Ticket scams warning 

Ticket scams are on the rise, with around £6.7million of victims’ money being stolen last year, according to Action Fraud. Scammers conned more than 8,700 people into believing they were getting their money’s worth but instead stole an average of £772 from each victim.  

Action Fraud reports that of all the ticket scams reports made last year, 29% were travel tickets, 18% were sporting events and 34% were concert ticket scams. This means that every third person was being targeted for concert ticket fraud. 

Data from Lloyds Bank reveals that ticket scams were up by 158% last summer and fans of Coldplay, Harry Styles and Beyonce were especially targeted, losing £133 on average. 

But it’s especially bad for Taylor Swift fans hoping to attend the popstar’s Eras tour, who are estimated to have lost over £1 million since tickets went on sale, according to Lloyds Bank. 

More than 600 fans are believed to have lost money since the Eras tour tickets were released in July 2023. Lloyds estimates that the situation is worse than it seems and that more than 3,000 victims have potentially been scammed across the country. 

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director of Lloyds Bank, said: “For her legion of dedicated Swifties, the excitement is building ahead of Taylor’s Eras Tour finally touching down in the UK this summer. However cruel fraudsters have wasted no time in targeting her most loyal fans as they rush to pick up tickets for her must-see concerts.”

Of all the Taylor Swift ticket scams, the most complaints came from those aged between 25 and 34, who lost roughly £332 in pursuit of tickets for the global pop icon’s first UK tour in six years. Some even got ripped off in £1,000s, which is more money lost than for any other artist. 

How ticket scams work

Lloyds Bank found that the main source for 90% of these scams was Facebook. The social media giant has arguably become a mediator for scammers and innocent victims looking for the best bargains, be it Facebook business account scams or concert ticket scams through unofficial groups with thousands of members. 

But how exactly do these scams work? We look at a few tricks that scammers have up their sleeves, which are doing the rounds. 

Popular targets: The more popular the artist is, the more likelihood that tickets will be sold out in minutes. In such situations, people get desperate to get their hands on tickets and are willing to do what it takes, be it overpaying or searching on social media sites like Facebook. These emotions are what scammers cash in on and use to their advantage. 

Finding peak times: Such frauds usually take place when concert tickets first go on sale and when the event is nearing the date, as people who couldn’t get hold of tickets start searching for ways to get them.  

Fake adverts: In order to really sell their guise, scammers create fake adverts, posts or listings on social media and top it up with sweet offers such as discounts or VIP access. Often this is how victims fall into such traps. 

Upfront payment: Scammers often ask for upfront payments to seal the deal, but once the payment is made, victims are not only left with no cash but also without the tickets they were promised. 

Ziegler says: “It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us when we find out our favourite artist is going to be performing live, but it’s important not to let those feelings cloud our judgement when trying to get hold of tickets.”

How to protect yourself from ticket scams

Many festivals and concerts are happening across the country this summer, but fraudsters are waiting to pounce on those who are excited about these events. Here’s what you can do to stay safe from scammers this summer:

  • Make sure that you only buy tickets from trusted sources, such as the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent, or a well-known ticket exchange site like Ticketmaster
  • Try not to pay using bank transfer, especially if you don’t know the seller. Credit cards or other payment methods like PayPal give you a better chance of getting the money back if you become a victim of fraud. 
  • Don’t use the same password for your email and ticket accounts that you use for everything else. It’s best practice to create a strong password and turn on 2-step verification so you have extra security in case something goes wrong. 
  • Be careful of emails, texts or any ads that offer ‘too good to be true’ ticket deals out of the blue. If something seems too good of an offer, it most likely is. 
  • You can check if a ticket seller is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). It’s a UK government-approved ticket sales body where vendors need to sign up to a code of practice to ensure that ticket buyers are confident in their purchases and don’t get scammed. So, if you spot a retail company selling tickets out of the blue, only consider buying from them if they are a STAR member. 

Liz Ziegler adds: “Buying directly from reputable, authorised platforms is the only way to guarantee you’re paying for a genuine ticket. Even then, always pay by debit or credit card for the greatest protection. If you’re being asked to pay by bank transfer, particularly from a seller you’ve found on social media, that should immediately set alarm bells ringing.”

What to do if you’ve been scammed

If you think a ticket vendor has scammed you, report it to Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040 anytime between Monday to Friday 8am and 8pm.

If you've paid by credit card, your card company may be equally responsible if a ticket seller scams you. As long as the tickets cost over £100, you may be able to get your money back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

For those who paid by Visa or Mastercard debit card, you may be able to ask for a refund under the ‘chargeback’ scheme

You can also contact STAR to let them know so that they can help prevent this in future cases. 

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.