Festival-goers: beware of online ticket fraudsters

It's not really possible to imagine what they felt, the thousands of people who unwittingly arrived at music festivals proffering fake tickets. They had bought them from plausible-looking websites, handed over card details, paid hundreds of pounds and then... nothing.

Every summer music fans are left without seeing headlining acts and with a greater distrust of their fellow humans, either because they fell for a dodgy website or responded to personal ads "selling" non-existent tickets.

For while the internet is a fantastic resource with the ability to inform, entertain and amuse – and instant access to the greatest works of science and culture in history – it is infested with crooks. Given how easy it is to set up a fake site with picture of festival-goers and a credit card link, or to "sell" ghost tickets online, the spring and summer are busy for fraudsters.

In the worst case two years ago, around 5,000 people turned up at the Leeds and Reading festivals with bogus tickets and were turned away. Since then the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit has shut down more than 100 fake festival websites, but they keep popping up.

Sadly, Leeds and Reading festivals are this weekend warning fans who bought from the unauthorised outlets worldwideticketstore.com and justtheticket.uk.com not to turn up at their gates.

These frauds persist because they are so easy – and because demand for music showpieces exceeds supply.

Jonathan Brown, secretary of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, explains: "It's very easy to create a website that looks classy and reputable – but that doesn't mean it's law-abiding or will definitely supply you with what you think you are buying. People need to be vigilant."

The first tip is to visit genuine sites. Most major summer festivals this year have already sold out, including Glastonbury (glastonburyfestivals.co.uk) and the V Festival (vfestival.com). Day tickets are still available for Reading (readingfestival.com) and Leeds (leedsfestival.com) and day and weekend tickets for Latitude (latitudefestival.co.uk).

If you come across a company absent from the promoter or venue's adverts and official websites, check them out. Do they have proper details: a UK registered office, a UK registered company, a UK phone number, a VAT registration number?

Are they specific about what is being offered: the dates of the event, venue, seating or other arrangements such as camping, the ticket's face value and any booking fees?

Then be careful with payments. Look for a "security" padlock at the bottom of the screen when filling in card details and consider paying anything over £100 by credit rather than debit card, because this provides more financial protection.

Next, be wary of offers of tickets placed by individuals, such as Ashley Davis. At Reading Crown Court last month, Davis, aged 22, from Crowthorne, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of fraud relating to ticket sales. He had been placing adverts on websites such as eBay and Gumtree offering tickets for various concerts, including for the Reading Festival. But once he received buyer's money he did not post the tickets, because they did not exist.

"The case of Davis should act as a warning to other people tempted to buy tickets for events like the Reading Festival from unofficial sources on the internet," commented investigating officer, Detective Constable Sally Russell, from Thames Valley Police.

Thames Valley set out some guidelines for fans responding to individual ads. Meet the "seller" in person so you can see the tickets before handing over money (take someone with you for personal safety). Ensure you use secure methods of transaction such a PayPal. Never send or wire money to sellers. And never give out personal or banking information such as credit card numbers to individuals.

Banks and solar energy suppliers feel the heat

Hero: Which?

In a way, it's only doing its job, but, my, it does it well. Here are a few industries that felt the glare of unwelcome publicity this week thanks to the consumer group: solar thermal suppliers; new car showrooms; "eco" cleaning product firms; supermarkets; high street banks.

Villain: Alliance & Leicester

It's hard, I acknowledge. In a week that saw Goldman Sachs fight allegations about dodgy investments, Commerzbank was fined £595,000 for failing to fight market abuse and it emerged five high street banks had derisory complaint handling, how can I single out A&L? For charging £90 for going £30 overdrawn for three days...

m.hickman@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

    Helpdesk Analyst

    £23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

    Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

    £27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London