© Evening Standard
The democratization and massification of the internet have contributed to making it an indispensable presence in our lives. Its possibilities are endless, and over the past decades, more and more services and digital products have emerged to completely change our everyday lives.
Nowadays, online shopping is a common reality – almost everyone has already purchased something over the internet. Some of us do it every week. It’s convenient, fast, and quite safe.
However, many people are still quite reticent about buying items from other people online. Many platforms out there try to facilitate sales between individuals, not only logistically, but also in terms of security.
But it’s still clearly not enough. Most online scams take place precisely in these types of transactions. In turn, ticket scams stand out as one of the most frequently reported scams – and it is precisely this kind of fraud that we are going to address in this article.
Here are six tips that will help you to protect yourself from online ticket scams!
1. Try official websites and social media pages first
We know that sometimes it is nearly impossible to get tickets for major events through the official ticket offices as they sell out in a matter of hours.
Even if you were able to buy a ticket from that initial batch, you often can’t risk buying expensive tickets for an event that will only take place a few months later because you don’t know for sure if you will be able to attend.
With that being said, official platforms should always be your first option. Check them all before buying from another seller. Keep in mind that if tickets are sold out at the official event store, there may still be some tickets left at other official sellers.
Additional tip: beware of the so-called search result scams. Some scammers create fake websites very similar to official ticket offices and take advantage of Google SEO and paid ads to get them indexed by the search engine as a “fake search result” that looks completely legitimate. Don’t fall for it!
2. Seal the deal in person whenever possible
Closing the deal face-to-face is the number one tip to avoid scams. In the vast majority of cases, scammers will avoid at all costs and find a series of excuses to make the deal exclusively online.
If the person selling you the tickets agrees to hand them to you and receive the money in person, you are most likely dealing with an honest seller. Still, you should carefully examine the tickets to see if they are legitimate.
Additional tips: if the deal can’t be made in person (e.g., the person lives in a faraway city), contact the seller by phone and find out some details about him and the tickets you are about to buy. Why is he selling the tickets? How did he manage to get tickets to an event that sold-out so quickly?
Also, if the seller tries to rush you into making a purchase decision, it might be a red flag that he is trying to scam you. Be careful and take your time to assess the situation properly.
3. If the price is too good to be true
Why would someone sell a ticket for a big, sold-out event at half price? There’s only one reason, really: that person is trying to raise interest in as many people as possible, to increase the chances of success of the scam they are about to attempt.
Sometimes you can find great deals, sure. But these are extremely rare when compared to scam attempts. So, don’t even get in touch with someone making this kind of offer. Unless you know the person in question and know for sure that the reason he or she is selling the tickets at such a low price is legitimate.
4. Ticket scalping
Also known as ticket resale, ticket scalping is the term used to refer to the practice of reselling tickets for a sold-out event at a much higher price than the original one. Individuals buy as many tickets as they can, wait for the event to sell out, then resell all their tickets for a substantial profit.
There’s both a legal and a moral issue with ticket scalping. Many countries have anti-scalping laws. In the US, most states either have strict regulations on this activity or completely banned it.
It is also morally questionable to buy tickets for an event to resell them at an exorbitant price as soon as they are sold out at the official ticket offices. On top of all this, many fraudulent sellers try to extort people posing as someone who is just trying to make a few extra bucks with ticket scalping.
Don’t buy extremely overpriced tickets from an individual. Even if you want to attend the event in question and if money is not an issue.
5. Beware of phishing emails and text message scams
Scammers often use the interest surrounding a sold-out event as bait to start a digital conversation with their victims and attempt phishing scams. If an entity approaches you by email, message, or social media claiming they have tickets for a sold-out event, you are interested in attending, don’t trust them.
It’s probably a scammer trying to sell you fake tickets or trying to steal your private information – no matter what, don’t open any external links!
6. Use payment methods that protect against fraud
This one is a no-brainer. There’s always a certain degree of risk associated with online transactions with strangers, so it’s normal for the buyer to opt for a secure payment method that offers protection against fraud. Like PayPal, for example.
If the seller insists on using a specific payment method that does not offer any protection to the buyer, think twice before making the purchase.