An investigation focusing on a company called Touchline Tickets which sold fake tickets to unsuspecting sports fans has led to eight arrests.
Essex Police – which launched the investigation last summer – said the scam could involve up to as many as 500 victims who paid money but never received tickets or a refund.
The force is investigating allegations of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering involving more than £500,000.
Working out whether an online ticket seller is legitimate can be quite tricky – especially as so many sites look legitimate.
We’ve identified a range of steps you can take to protect yourself when buying tickets online.
Multiple arrests made
Those arrested are two men aged 43 and 45 from Essex, two women aged 25 and 35, and a man aged 40 from Hertfordshire, two men aged 25 and 32 from south-east London, and a 31-year-old man from Kent.
Essex Police would not reveal which sporting events victims tried to attend.
But it has confirmed that the investigation is looking at the websites touchlinetickets.com, touchlinetickets.net, getsporting.com, greenpitchtickets.com and tickets4summergames.com.
Shutting down the scammers
Last year Which? exposed GetSporting.com as a scam website selling Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets and urged rugby fans looking for last-minute tickets to avoid it.
A search on Twitter for GetSporting.com at the time revealed a long list of potential victims from all over the globe, including Argentina, France, New Zealand and South Africa.
One unfortunate Irish fan even reported a loss of £5,000 on 20 tickets they had purchased through the GetSporting website.
The site was shut down for good by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau after we brought the site to its attention.
Essex Police has warned fans wanting tickets to this year’s bumper summer of sport, including the Rio Olympic Games, UEFA Euro 2016 and the Wimbledon tennis championships to use ‘recognised companies’ when buying tickets.
- Have you been approached by a scammer? Use our guide to report a scam
- Follow our step-by-step guide to get your money back after a scam
- You can use our tips to identify and avoid fake, fraudulent or scam websites.