Football fans warned to beware of fake ticket scams

By Simon Read
Business reporter, BBC News

Manchester City fansImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Paying for tickets by bank transfer offers fans very little fraud protection

Football fans have been urged to be wary of ticket scams.

Fraudsters are using social media to offer fake tickets and trick unsuspecting victims out of their cash - the average loss is £410, according to Lloyds Bank.

The fans pay by bank transfer, which offers no protection to consumers.

If you can't pay by credit or debit card, "that's a big red flag that you're about to get scammed," the bank warned.

Cases of the scams climbed by more than two-thirds between January and June, according to Lloyds Bank data.

This surge was because fraudsters took advantage of people desperate to attend live events after Covid restrictions ended.

But the bank warned that the start of the Premier League season this weekend could see another surge in the scams.

It said criminals target the biggest games which are already sold out - such as matches between the top six clubs in England, European games and internationals matches.

With major events such as cup finals, Lloyds Bank said it had seen victims losing as much as £2,000.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Scammers will invent a story to explain why they cannot use their match ticket to make themselves seem more plausible

How does the scam work?

The scammers use social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to offer fake tickets to sought-after matches.

Top-flight football in particular is popular among criminals, as they take advantage of fans' desperation to watch their team, knowing that many matches will already be sold out,

They often use bogus pictures of tickets to fool fans, or publish a made-up story about why they cannot attend the game to sound more legitimate.

Once they've snared a victim they demand payment by bank transfer, also known as 'faster payment'.

These payments offer no consumer protection and are effectively the electronic equivalent of just handing over your cash to someone in the street.

Once the cash is sent, the scammers simply disappear, leaving behind an anonymous, untraceable online identity and an angry fan left out of pocket.

"The vast majority of these scams start on social media, where it's all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that simply don't exist," said Liz Ziegler, Lloyds Bank's retail fraud and financial crime director.

"Buying directly from the clubs or their official ticket partners is the only way to guarantee you're paying for a real ticket."

Buyer protection

If shoppers are purchasing anything online using a debit or credit card will give them extra protection.

This is because buyers who pay by credit card or debit card benefit from Section 75 and Chargeback rules.

When using a credit card, Section 75 protection means that your card provider could be responsible for compensating you if the goods or services you bought aren't as advertised.

Under chargeback rules a card provider can get your money back from the bank the money was sent to, if you do not get the goods or services you paid for.

There has also been a marked increase in purchase scams targeting tickets for concerts so music fans should be wary too.

Lloyds Bank said fraudsters will target any major event, such as festivals, where demand for tickets is likely to exceed supply.