FOOTBALL fans desperate to go to Euro 2016 could be ripped off if they buy their tickets from social media sites.
Coventry Trading Standards has issued a warning to fans of ‘the beautiful game’ after online fraudsters made more than £5 million last year – up from £3.5 million the year before – by cashing in on loyal sports and music fans.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed worthless tickets for sold out matches and concerts have started to appear on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Gumtree and Instagram.
And with the average fan losing £444 on fake ticket scams, Trading Standards is urging avid fans to steer clear of tickets being sold online to events that have sold out – encouraging them instead to use official sites, especially for tickets that are being resold.
Coun Tariq Khan, the chair of the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: “Fans are often prepared to pay vastly inflated prices for tickets and might be tempted to resort to unofficial websites.
“But they risk losing a lot of money if their tickets turn out to be fake or don’t exist.
“As the squads for Euro 2016 are being confirmed and summer music festival line-ups are announced, we expect criminals to exploit fans’ excitement by selling fake tickets on forums, sham websites and social media.”
As well as Euro 2016, Wimbledon, Glastonbury and Wembley concerts with Beyoncé, Rihanna and Coldplay headlining are expected to be prime target for ticket touts.
Trading Standards is also warning of the dangers of sharing images of official tickets purchased on social media.
Scammers often trawl social media sites for such pictures so they can copy the barcode to create fake tickets.
Debbie Morgan, the council’s consumer protection officer, added: “People should only buy tickets from official sites, and when buying resold tickets ensure that they are buying from vendors who have been approved by the event organiser.
“Criminals selling fake tickets online are becoming more and more widespread – to avoid disappointment we urge fans to be on guard when purchasing sports and music tickets.”
“Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery as long as a single ticket costs more than £100 and less than £30,000.”
If you have been a victim of fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
If you spot a website or post that you believe to be selling bogus tickets, you can report it to Coventry Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.