Don’t let scalpers spoil your sporting events and festivals

9 February 2011

SCAMwatch is warning consumers to be vigilant when buying 2011 Rugby World Cup tickets and festival tickets online.

Tickets sold by official event organisers and authorised sellers often carry conditions that restrict their resale or transfer above face value. While official event organisers and their authorised ticket sellers have a strong online presence, so too do ticket ‘scalpers’, engaging in unauthorised reselling of tickets at higher prices.

If you arrive at an event with a ticket bought from a scalper, be warned. Not only do you risk being turned away at the venue, you may not get the seats you’ve ordered, or you may not even get your ticket.

The ACCC recommends you check if a website is an authorised seller before making any online ticket purchases. Be alert to scalpers who use official looking logos and trademarks to lure you into thinking that they are authorised ticket sellers.

Major sports events may also attract scam operators seeking to take advantage of the strong demand for tickets. Fans should also be on the lookout for fake ticketing websites or email scams that falsely claim to be part of a Rugby World Cup 2011 lottery, prize draw or competition. Victims of a ticketing scam may find their ticket never arrives, or they receive a counterfeit ticket. Scammers pocket the victim’s money and could also use the victim’s personal details to commit identity fraud.

SCAMwatch issued similar warnings about online ticket scams for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, as well as a warning about online flight ticket scams in November 2010.

Warning signs:

  • Look closely at websites, many scalpers use official looking logos and trademarks to mislead you into believing they are authorised ticket sellers.
  • Be on the lookout for fake ticketing websites or email scams that make false claims about being part of an official event ticket lottery, prize draw or competition. These scams will often request additional payments or personal information to secure tickets.

Protect yourself:

  • Before you buy tickets, check whether the seller is authorised by the organiser to resell tickets.  Contact the event organiser or promoter, or visit the official event website to find authorised sellers and whether tickets are still available.
  • Read all the terms and conditions online before purchasing tickets. Tickets often carry conditions that restrict their resale. If you buy these tickets from an unauthorised website you may be refused entry to the event. Some websites will mention this in their terms and conditions of sale.
  • Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not certain is genuine or secure.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a website, check if the ABN quoted on the website is genuinely registered to the trader named on the website. You can look up an ABN on the Australian Government’s business.gov.au website.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.

More information

The ACCC has issued a media release warning consumers to be vigilant when buying tickets online.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading also published a fact sheet for consumers in January 2011 titled Buying Tickets and Ticket Scalping available on their website.

For more information on shopping safely online check out our Auction and shopping scams page. You can also view other SCAMwatch radars on online ticket scams:

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