Ticket to nowhere: don’t let ticket scammers ruin your festival season

24 April 2019
  • More than a quarter (26 per cent) of millennial festival-goers have fallen victim to a ticket scam 
  • Buying a ticket from touts on social media is identified as high risk, yet 40 per cent of 25-34-year-olds would use social media groups to bag a ticket
  • Barclays issues warning to festival-goers to help protect them against ticketing scams
Scammers are taking advantage of music fans searching for tickets to sold-out events by setting up fake ticketing websites and social media personas, according to new research from Barclays.
The warning comes ahead of the festival season when hundreds of thousands of tickets will be snapped up, amid booming demand. However, thousands will be left disappointed and on the hunt for tickets to sold out events, leaving music lovers vulnerable to scammers.
According to the research, victims are at risk of losing £179 on average from the sophisticated crime, which is more than the average European festival ticket1.
Millennial2 festival goers – fearful of missing out on must see events – appear most at risk from fraudsters, with a quarter (26 per cent) admitting they had fallen for ticket scams, the survey from Barclays found.
Those victims are also more likely to being targeted by criminals multiple times, with more than a third (37 per cent) falling for at least three different ticketing scams in the last two years.
The desperation to secure dream tickets may be clouding music fans’ judgement. Although 40 per cent said buying a ticket from a tout on a social media group carries one of the greatest risks of being scammed, it does not necessarily put them off.
Surprisingly, 40 per cent of 25-34-year-olds admitted they would be prepared to use social media groups to purchase a ticket, despite knowing the dangers.
The risk to millennials is a trend that is reflected in Barclays own data – which includes ticketing scams – as it shows that 40 per cent of reported scam cases3 are from 18-29-year olds.
With criminals using a range of methods to tempt music fans, from offering tickets on social media, as well as directing targets to bogus ticketing sites, falling victim to a ticket scam has never been easier.
Ross Martin, Barclays Head of Digital Safety, said: “As we enter the festival season, it is easy to forget our online safety as people look to secure their must-have tickets. Yet, we should all be aware of the risks when purchasing tickets and make sure we are carrying out proper safety checks, to ensure our festival experience is not ruined by fraudsters.”
That’s why, ahead of the festival season, Barclays is raising awareness of ticket scams and providing quick and simple ways for people to better protect themselves from the scammers ready to pounce on fans who fear missing out on their dream event.
Here are Ross Martin’s top tips to protect against ticket scams:
Do your research. Festival-goers believe purchasing a ticket seen on an advert on social media carries a scam risk (27 per cent), yet 29 per cent admitted they would purchase a ticket via this method. Do your research and make sure you are purchasing your ticket from a legitimate source. You can check whether the website or agent is legitimate by making sure they are a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), and that they are listed as an approved ticket seller on the event or festival’s official website. You can also use search engines to check out other customers’ feedback, and see if anyone else has had problems in the past.
Think carefully. Three in ten (29 per cent) would dip into their savings to bag a ticket to an event and a quarter (25 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds would even pay the equivalent they would pay for a holiday. Fraudsters target the most vulnerable, and if their targets appear willing to go to extreme lengths, including paying more than the original price, they will take advantage of this.
Is it too good to be true? If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will often lure people in with heavily discounted prices for sought after events. If you do find yourself victim, report this to your bank straight away.
Never let your guard down. Do not let security measures slip as you try to get that elusive ticket. Only half (47 per cent) of festival-goers said they avoid the site or social media group where they previously fell victim to a scam. Remember, always look out for the padlock symbol in the web address to ensure the website is legitimate. If this symbol is not there, do not continue to payment or enter any of your personal details.
Is it a pay-by-transfer? Scammers love bank transfers; the money goes straight into their account and then the seller can disappear. By the time you realise that something is wrong, it may be too late. Always try and pay via credit card as this provides added protection over other payment methods.
For more details on how to stay safe, visit www.barclays.co.uk/security
Notes to editor

1 According to IQ’s European Festival Report 2018, festival-goers paid €178 (£153) on average for a 2018 festival ticket
2 In this release, millennials are defined as those aged between 25-34 years
3 Barclays data here focussed on reported low-value goods purchase scams, and is from April 2017 – October 2017
Additional research was carried out online by Opinium across a total of 2,000 festival and event goers from 22nd - 26th March 2019

Eliot Goward