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

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Audit Manager Central Functions

    To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

    Credit Risk Audit Manager

    Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week