Event Operations

How to Avoid Ticket Scams

Reading time: 13 min

So, you've found the perfect event to attend! Now, as you think about buying your tickets, make sure to purchase from the event's official ticketing provider if at all possible. However, in certain instances, you may want to buy resale tickets. If that's the case, you'll want to take extra precaution to avoid the risk of ticket scams. Check out our tips on how to not get scammed buying tickets!

What are ticket scams?

Ticket scams are unfortunately prevalent in today's world. According to the Better Business Bureau, thousands of unsuspecting individuals fall victim to these fraudulent schemes each year. Ticket scams involve dishonest individuals or organisations selling counterfeit or invalid tickets to unsuspecting buyers. Targeting tickets that are in high demand or are sold out, these scams are especially popular with events such as concerts, sports games, and plays. Fraudsters see a demand for tickets (like at a sold-out show) and entice people with a chance to finally go to the event. Due to their prevalence, it's all the more important that you take steps to avoid this fraud, with a trusted ticketing platform like TicketLeap by your side.

robber putting a coin into a piggy bank

How do ticket scams work?

Over the years, there have been different types of scams, from fake concert ticket scams to illegal resales. To help you know how to avoid ticket scams, it's important to identify ways that these schemes are typically carried out:

  1. Fake tickets: Fraudsters will sell counterfeit tickets, either printed or digital, that are made to look exactly like the event's tickets but won't work when scanned.

  2. Wrong seats: You'll be charged for a seat that the fraudster hasn't secured yet, then buy a cheaper seat for you after they've been paid and take the extra profit.

  3. Duplicate tickets: The same ticket will be sold to multiple people, so the first person to scan the ticket will be admitted while the others will unfortunately be turned away.

  4. Social media scams: Phishing accounts will either reach out to sell you fake tickets on social media, or they'll create fake social media ads that link to fraudulent sites that sell invalid tickets.

  5. Fake event website: On a fraudulent site, an error message will pop up after your purchase asking for you to submit your bank information again, thus charging you twice. A fraudster may also make a website similar to the event in order to capture login information and use that to steal that person's ticket purchase(s) from the actual site.

  6. Illegal resale: Fraudsters will use a stolen credit card to purchase tickets and then resell them for profit.

How to safeguard from ticket scams

When it comes to avoiding ticket scams, your best line of defence is you! Here are some key steps on how to not get scammed buying tickets:

Research the event

Your first resort should always be to go straight to the event itself to buy your tickets. That said, you'll want to do some extra investigating to determine if the event is reputable and if they're selling tickets through a secure ticketing platform. Check out third-party sites (like social media and news articles) and read reviews to find out what past attendees have said about the event.

If you're considering purchasing resale tickets, ask yourself, “Does this event explicitly say they allow ticket reselling or not?” Check the event's website regarding their policy on this, or reach out to them directly to clarify. You may also want to see if people have successfully bought resold tickets there before. If the event doesn't allow ticket resale, you know to only buy tickets from the event itself!

Purchase through official box offices and promoters only

The best way to avoid ticket scams is to purchase your tickets directly from the source (aka, the event!). Whether you buy directly on their website or through a third-party event listing, check that they're using a secure, reputable ticketing platform – like TicketLeap! If you want to be extra sure, you can contact TicketLeap's support team to confirm before purchasing your tickets.

If you search the event online, don't assume the first few sites in the search results are legitimate. There's a chance they're not the official website and could sell fake tickets. Therefore, always triple check that you're purchasing through the event's official website and their verified ticketing provider. Not only will you ensure your tickets are valid, you'll also get the best prices that way too!

two businessmen shaking hands surrounded by coins

How to safely buy resale tickets from a third-party vendor

Should you need to purchase resale tickets, the safest way is through verified ticket resellers. When doing so, stick to brands you trust like Tixel or StubHub. However, an important disclaimer with resale tickets, there's always an outside chance they're not authentic tickets, so always prioritise buying from the official source. That said, here's a few factors to help confirm that you're purchasing from a legit third-party vendor.

Check seller reviews

To safeguard from unauthorised third-party sellers, don't automatically trust the links that appear in search results. Though being at the top of search results may make them seem trustworthy, these links could be fraudulent like fake paid ads or tickets being sold with super high fees. So, take caution and do some extra digging – it's worth it! 

Verify the legitimacy of the seller by checking their reviews online. Pay close attention to any reviews with negative terms in them such as “fake”, “fraud”, or “scam” (both related to this event if available and others on the resellers' site). As for how to verify tickets are real, you should confirm the vendor's contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) as well as look for security features such as a secure checkout system and customer service policies. Check what the prices typically are too. Avoid tickets with major discounts compared to their normal prices directly from the event." Ultimately, your vigilance will help protect you from potential scams so you can buy your tickets with confidence!

Triple-check the time and location of your tickets

Even if the seller is legitimate, it can be easy to buy tickets for the wrong time and location – so, be careful! People often buy the incorrect dates or cities of resellers because it isn't 100% clear. So when purchasing tickets, make sure to double-check the dates, times, and locations of your tickets before you click “buy”. 

Read ticket guarantees and refund policies

To confidently buy resale tickets, use a reseller that has a crystal clear refund policy. In their refund policy, ensure there's a clear and explicit statement that you'll receive valid tickets or you'll get your money back. In case the unexpected happens, confirm what the reseller's policy is regarding event cancellations or rescheduling. 

Only purchase through verified resellers with a credit card

When making purchases, it's highly recommended to use a verified seller and avoid peer-to-peer payment methods like Zelle, Cash App, and Venmo. What are verified resale tickets exactly? They are the safest way to buy tickets outside of the event's ticketing provider. To protect yourself when buying tickets, research what third-party resellers the event's ticketing platform endorses.

If you do use a peer-to-peer payment service (like purchasing tickets from a mutual friend), be sure to utilise purchase protection services like PayPal Goods and Services. Moreover, it's advised to always use a credit card for an extra layer of safety. That way, in the instance where it is fraud, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company and keep your bank account protected. Remember, it's absolutely vital to be 100% sure the tickets are real before buying them!

Looking to buy from a person? How to avoid ticket scammers

We strongly recommend people prioritise purchasing tickets directly from the event's official website, then looking into verified ticket resale platforms if tickets are no longer available on the website. Buying from individuals should be one's last resort, and only done with people you trust. That said, here are some tips on how to not get scammed buying tickets, including red flags to look out for.

Stick to people you know

Should you choose to buy from an individual, it's best to stick with people you know personally - like mutual friends or coworkers. Even in these instances though, ask to see the tickets before buying them, so you can verify they're real tickets and that they didn't accidentally purchase invalid tickets from a reseller.

Double-check ticket details

Curious how to tell if tickets are fake? To start off, ask for the ticket purchaser to send you their original ticket purchase confirmation via email or in person. It's important to receive this receipt via email so they don't create a fake one and you can verify that the email address from the vendor (like StubHub or Ticketmaster) is legit. Fake “From” emails (like help-ticketmaster.com or ticket-master.com) are a clear sign of fake tickets. Fraudulent tickets could be for seats that don't exist in the venue. If you're unsure, feel free to call the venue itself to confirm. If you meet in person to see the tickets, ensure you meet in a public place with lots of people around.

Even if the resold ticket looks legitimate, someone may have replicated it, which means purchasing through a third party cannot be 100% verified. The only foolproof way to know if tickets are authentic is to purchase them directly through the event's ticketing provider or their box office yourself.

Thumbs up and thumbs down swirling around

Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals

If a seller is pressuring you to make a quick purchase, that's a huge red flag. Take your time and trust your instincts. Remember, if someone approaches you about their tickets, it's likely a fraud attempt. Do your research on what the ticket price is, because if these tickets are overpriced or heavily discounted, it could be a sign that they're not legitimate.

Spot suspicious payment methods

When paying for tickets, never transfer the money or purchase with a prepaid money card. If you do use a peer-to-peer payment processor, use a purchase protection policy, ensuring you're eligible for a refund if the tickets are fake. By sticking to these precautions, you can shield yourself from fraudulent ticket sales and enjoy your event!

Look out for online marketplaces and social media

Be wary of online marketplaces like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. To verify the seller, you'll need to do some digging on their profile to ensure they're an actual person and not impersonating a fan or using a hacked account. Some telltale signs of illegitimate sellers are a super low follower count and generic images on their account.

As we mentioned previously, another way people can try to scam you is through fake event ads. If you see a social media ad for an awesome event, pull up the event's website in your browser to avoid the risk of clicking into a fake ad. This simple step can help you navigate how to avoid ticket scams!

Already bought a fake ticket? Here's what to do

Should you discover that you've purchased a fraudulent ticket, contact your bank and your credit card company immediately. By reporting the ticket fraud to your credit card company, they'll help dispute the charge (if not stop it altogether!). It's also important to file a local police report, especially if you had any in-person interaction with the scammer. Additionally, reach out to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding the incident, and report it to Scamwatch to help others avoid similar ticket scams.

Female police officer by a cop car

There you have it! When it comes to buying tickets, it's important to know how to verify tickets are real to ensure everything goes smoothly on event day. Remember to always purchase through the actual event and their official ticket provider (like TicketLeap!), and avoid third-party vendors unless absolutely necessary. Should you purchase resale tickets, exercise extreme caution with the help of these tips. Stay vigilant and outsmart ticket scams – you've got this!

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