WITH the festival season well and truly underway, fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to scam people out of hard-earned cash for tickets that do not exist.
Internet users and music lovers are being urged to be on their guard against sophisticated online scams.
Experts are seeing a huge rise in the problem over the summer months – up to half of websites selling festival tickets are bogus, providing rich pickings for organised gangs of cyber criminals.
New figures show:
n 14 per cent of people in Yorkshire have been a victim or know someone who has
n Organised crime dominates black market for tickets
n Fraud loss from online tickets is estimated at £168m.
According to Get Safe Online, the UK’s internet security initiative, online scammers are going to increasing efforts to dupe consumers into visiting fake ticketing websites, running their operations as ‘businesses’ and willing to make up-front investments for high returns.
Cyber criminals will often pay for search advertising on Google, their fake sites appearing at the top of event search results.
They are also known to enlist professional web designers so their sites appear genuine.
And with 45 per cent of people in Yorkshire turning to the internet to get tickets to sold-out events, criminals also play on the emotions of those desperate to see their favourite artists.
One method is to target fan websites and forums and other social networking sites.
Fake fans post copmments, claiming they bought tickets from a certain site, encouraging others to visit.
Consumers are then driven to the site and genuine fans fall for the scam.
Tony Neate, managing director of GetSafeOnline.org, says: “Criminals used to have only one opportunity to sell fake tickets to punters – on the day of the event.
“Now they have access to a huge number of potential victims over a period of months in the run-up to the event.
“Intelligence indicates that as many as half of the websites that sell tickets for summer festivals are bogus.
“It’s critical that consumers are on their guard.
“We are urging internet users to check with the event organisers for a list of legitimate ticket selling websites.”