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Men lose twice as much money as women to ticket scams, new Barclays research shows

29 May 2024

5 minute read

  • Ticket scams cost victims an average of £243 each – with men losing more than twice as much as women, at £325 vs £156
  • For those who encountered a sports-related ticket scam, half were attempting to buy tickets for football matches
  • Purchase scam reports increased year-on-year in 2023, with the volume of claims peaking in July and the value peaking in August
  • Barclays Digital Safety Expert, Kirsty Adams, offers advice to help sports fans keep their money safe and avoid ticketing scams ahead of this summer’s most sought after events

Barclays is issuing a warning to fans on the hunt for tickets to the summer’s most in-demand sporting and entertainment events, as the Bank’s data shows that reports of purchase scams peaked in July last year.

Purchase scams often take place when scammers list fake or non-existent items for sale on social media and online marketplaces. Online ticket fraud is a rising form of purchase scam, where scammers take advantage of fans’ eagerness to attend major, sometimes sold out, events, targeting them with fake tickets.

Barclays research shows that the average ticket scam victim loses £2431. Men lose more than twice as much as women on average, at £325 in comparison to £156. The research suggests this is driven by ticket prices, with men paying more for scam tickets, as both men and women are equally likely to encounter a ticket scam.  

The research also revealed that 82 per cent of Brits do not conduct additional background checks to ensure sites are genuine before purchasing a ticket. With scammers likely to be looking to take advantage of fans keen to get their hands on tickets to sold out events this summer, Barclays is reminding everyone to remain vigilant and always take the time to check that the ticket being purchased is genuine and from a reputable seller.  

Half (53 per cent) of those who have been targeted by a sports ticket scam said they had been contacted about, or saw an ad for fake football tickets. Tennis and cricket were the next most cited sports, at 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, followed by horse racing and athletics (both 16 per cent).

While 57 per cent of Brits are concerned about the rising cost of event tickets, even if presented with a good deal, it’s vital to ensure that any tickets purchased are legitimate and being sold on a trusted platform. Barclays data suggests the risk of encountering a ticket scam is higher in the summer, when many of the UK’s main events take place. The volume of purchase scam claims peaked in July last year, accounting for 9.5 per cent of the total number of reports, while the value peaked in August, representing 12.0 per cent of the year’s total2.

Kirsty Adams, Fraud & Scams Expert at Barclays said: “Where there’s a popular ticketed event, there’s always a scammer looking to take advantage of that demand. Unfortunately it can be easy to get caught up in a ticket scam when you’re desperate to try and secure a ticket to an oversubscribed event.

“It can be devastating for sports fans to hand over their hard-earned money for a ticket to see their favourite team or event, only to discover it doesn’t actually exist. We want to spare fans any heartache this summer and urge everyone to take a moment to really stop and think, and check the site or individual they are purchasing tickets from. As the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), said: “With so many great events happening throughout the UK this summer there are, sadly, ruthless fraudsters waiting to ride on the back of public excitement by ripping-off ticket buyers. Consumers can help avoid disappointment and loss by following Barclays advice about how to buy tickets safely and taking the right steps to defend themselves from fraud.

”Whenever possible, purchase your tickets through a member of STAR as you are then buying from an authorised ticket supplier signed up to our strict code of practice. While we hope you never have to use it, this also gets you access to our approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service. Look for the STAR logo or check our website for a list of members www.star.org.uk.”

To help fans get a slice of the sporting action safely this summer, Kirsty Adams, Fraud & Scams Expert at Barclays shares her top tips for avoiding scams when buying tickets for events.

  1. Do your due diligence: Research and read reviews to check if the site is secure and has a valid certificate. Investigate if the seller of the tickets is genuine, and double check the event’s website to see if tickets can be resold or transferred. Our research showed that the vast majority of people do not do additional background checks when purchasing a ticket, and this is what scammers are banking on. Taking that extra couple of seconds could save you money and heartache in the long run.
  2. Get a second opinion: Always speak to someone you trust for a second opinion before you buy a ticket to a sports game. Whether that’s asking a friend if they have used a site before, seeing if they have heard of the person you’re buying from, or checking whether a resale site is reputable, before committing to the tickets.
  3. Be wary of unlikely offers: Many purchase scams offer huge discounts that you wouldn’t normally find at trusted and reputable ticket sites. Remember, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stop and question why any legitimate seller would offer cheap tickets to an event or match when others are still going for the original price. Check the seller’s website and be wary of anyone asking for a bank transfer rather than a debit or credit card transaction, as legitimate sellers don’t usually do this.
  4. Pay with a secure method: If you are buying tickets, ensure you are doing what you can to protect the payment. Paying with a credit card, as opposed to a bank transfer or another method, means you are protected if something goes wrong. This gives you an extra safety net if your tickets don’t arrive.


Notes to Editors

1The research in this press release was carried out between 19th April and 23rd April 2024 by Opinium Research on behalf of Barclays. There were 2,000 respondents, providing a representative sample of UK consumers by age, gender, region, and income group.

2The figures in this release are based on Barclays business and personal current account customer scam data for Jan-Dec 2023.

For more information, please contact Dee Fallon at deirdre.fallon@barclays.com or India McMillan at india.smyth@barclays.com

About Barclays

Our vision is to be the UK-centred leader in global finance.  We are a diversified bank with comprehensive UK consumer, corporate and wealth and private banking franchises, a leading investment bank and a strong, specialist US consumer bank.  Through these five divisions, we are working together for a better financial future for our customers, clients and communities.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website home.barclays