Nine ways to spot a scam ticketing site The nine fake ticket site giveaways

04 May 2011

Rock concert tickets

Scam ticket sites could leave you seriously out of pocket

Buying tickets to a major event is often tough work, but scam ticket sites make it tougher still. We’ve identified nine tell-tale signs to stop you getting ripped-off.

1) The site is advertising tickets as 'available' before they're officially on sale

This is a classic giveaway that a website is fake, and can be easily checked by looking on the event venue's website or on primary ticket sites such as Ticketmaster, Seetickets, Ticketweb and Ticketline. These should also tell you the date that the tickets are due to go on sale. 

2) The ticket prices look too good to be true

When it comes to sourcing a ticket for your favourite band you’re likely to find ultra-low prices tempting - but if a ticket deal sounds too good to be true, alarm bells should be ringing.

3) Scam sites can look very slick, but spelling mistakes often give them away

Amazingly, scam sites are often given away by the little details. 

In-between the slick looking production and graphics you may find little spelling mistakes that give the game away. You're less likely to find these on an official, trustworthy ticket site. 

4) It is selling tickets for an already sold out event

This is a dead give away that preys on people’s desperation. If the official ticket sites are telling you that an event is sold out, it probably is. 

This doesn’t mean you have no chance of finding tickets, but you will have to pay a lot more for them on a secondary re-sale site such as Seatwave, Viagogo or Getmein.

5) the site's selling second-hand Olympics and football tickets

If you find a site reselling Olympics or football tickets there’s a good chance it’s a scam site - for the simple reason that this is often illegal. 

6) Company details, such as the ‘About us’ link, are missing

All reputable websites will have a section telling you about the company, often under an ‘About us’ link. This will contain details about what the company does and where they are registered, so it’s not a good sign if you can’t find it.

7) There’s no address or contact telephone number

Scam sites will often omit to include an address or contact number - for obvious reasons - so this is another good giveaway that a website isn’t all it appears be.

8) When it asks for your credit card details, you are redirected to an unsecure site

Any trustworthy site asking for financial details should be a secure site, indicated by an 's' appearing after the 'http' section at the beginning of the page URL. 

If there's no 's', the site isn't secure and you should avoid providing it with your personal financial details. There should also be a padlock symbol in your browser's task bar, at the bottom of the page.

9) It looks like a replica of a trusted site

This may sound obvious, but scam sites can often be given away by their similarity to other, official websites. Many scam sites have a very similar design and layout to trustworthy online retail sites, with a few small differences in design or a similar sounding name.

Spot the difference... 

Consumer Direct have produced a mock-up version of what a fake ticket site may look like, which incorporates many of the points you've read about above. See if you can spot them. 

If you’ve been scammed

Thanks to consumer protection measures, getting scammed by a ticket site doesn’t mean you will necessarily be out of pocket. If you have spent more than £100 on a ticket that never arrived and you paid for it with a credit card, you may be able to claim the money back from your card provider through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

If that isn’t possible, you may be able to reclaim your money using Chargeback. This is an industry scheme that card providers such as Visa and MasterCard sign up to, and it applies to debit cards as well as credit cards.

Finally, if you think you’ve been scammed you can also contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506. It can offer advice and also collects intelligence on scams that is used by Trading Standards Officers, to help prevent other people from being ripped off.

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.