The British public lost £5.2 million to ticket fraud in 2015 compared to £3.35 million in same period in 2014, a rise of 55 per cent according to new figures from Get Safe Online.
Major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and Premier League football matches accounted for over a quarter of all incidents of ticket scams. Tickets for gigs and festivals accounted for 15 per cent.
The figures also show those most at risk of buying non-existent tickets are aged between 20-29 (28 per cent), followed by 30-39 and 40-49 year-olds (23 per cent for each age group).
With the UEFA Euro 2016 Championships in June and the summer festival season not far off, Get Safe Online together with Action Fraud and the National Trading Standards eCrime Team are urging sport and music fans to be more vigilant when buying tickets, especially on social media sites, which are increasingly being used by criminals to facilitate ticket fraud.
Figures show that 21 per cent of crimes relating to ticket fraud were instigated via Facebook, 6 per cent on Twitter and 22 per cent of incidents on Gumtree.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: “Criminals have captured a market of fans who will do anything to get a ticket, which makes festivals, concerts and big sporting events a prime target for fraud.
“If you really want to see your team play at a big sporting event or get tickets to one of the big summer festivals, it can be really tempting to try and get tickets from all kinds of places other than the official websites. Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target.
“Often ticket prices are ramped right up – so you risk losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist. Likewise, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s quite likely that you are being scammed.”
Mike Andrews, the National Co-ordinator for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team said: “The large increase in consumer detriment from ticketing scams is very worrying particularly among younger people who tend to be more active on social media.
“Together with Get Safe Online and Action Fraud, we strongly urge sports and music fans to buy from official event organisers to avoid the risk of being scammed by criminals exploiting people via social media.
“We will be working with Get Safe Online and Action Fraud over the spring and summer months to do all we can to prevent people being caught out by ticketing scams.
“So before buying tickets online look out for help and advice from all our websites and social media feeds. And if you have had any problems buying tickets online you can report the problem to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Helpline number on 03454 04 05 06.”