Number of ticket scams has doubled in a year, warns Santander

Santander issues warning about ticket scams as number of cases more than doubles from 789 to 1,905 so far this year… and here’s what to do if YOU have been affected

A major bank has issued a warning about ticket scams after the number of cases it has dealt with has more than doubled this year so far compared with the same period in 2022.

Santander said that, between the start of this year and the end of July, the number of ticket scams reported by its customers has more than doubled from 789 to 1,905 from the same period last year. The average claim was for £107.

Ticket scams happen when a criminal sells someone a ticket that is fake or does not exist. Sales are often advertised on social media or through fake websites, Santander said.

Customers aged between 19 and 34 have accounted for the bulk of reports Santander has dealt with, but those aged 35 and older have typically reported bigger losses, at £194 on average.

Santander has issued a warning about ticket scams after the number of cases it has dealt with has more than doubled this year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ticket scam victims aged 13 to 34 reported losses of £77 on average.

Here are some tips from Santander to stay safe from ticket scams: 

  • Always buy tickets through trustworthy official sellers and websites.
  • Consider payment methods that may offer more protection if something goes wrong, such as credit cards.
  • Always buy football tickets direct from the football club.
  • When buying online, check the payment pages are secure by looking for the padlock symbol in the address bar. The website should start with ‘https’.
  • Scammers often pretend to be offering tickets to highly popular and sold-out events. In some cases, the price being asked may also seem cheaper than you would expect to pay. Remember that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Common claims involved bogus sales of concert and festival tickets, with fake tickets for football games and flights also being reported to Santander.

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander, said: ‘Whether buying tickets for your favourite artist, the Rugby World Cup, or your football team, don’t score an own goal by getting scammed.

‘If anybody has been contacted by a stranger or sees an advert online with a deal that seems too good to be true, it may be exactly that. People should be alert to potential scams and only buy tickets from official ticket sellers.’

Separate data from TSB also shows that more than half of all ticket scams start on Facebook.

Meanwhile, 38 per cent of TSB’s customers who reported having lost money to scams say they heard about the tickets on Twitter. That is followed by Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Opportunistic criminals take advantage of sold-out events and waiting lists to push up ticket prices and sell false copies or duplicates of existing seats. Many will also offer ‘exclusive’ tickets for events that are not yet on sale.

They make their ruses appear credible by setting up a fake company website or social media profile.

They then advertise the tickets on sales platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, which allows its users to buy and sell between themselves.

The fake websites may be almost identical to the genuine company, and in some cases, the only sign that you are being defrauded is a subtle difference in the web address, according to the anti-fraud initiative Take Five — To Stop Fraud.

In many cases, the buyer may even receive a copy of the ticket they’ve paid for via email or post.

Opportunistic criminals take advantage of sold-out events and waiting lists to push up ticket prices

However, it’s only on arrival at the event that the scam victim discovers the ticket they had bought in good faith is actually a fake, a duplicate or has been reported as lost or stolen and is therefore invalid.

Five red flags 

1. The seller asks for a bank transfer

Where possible, pay for tickets with a credit or debit card. If you do and the tickets are fake, your bank will usually help you to get your money back.

2. If re-selling tickets is illegal

Some football match tickets cannot be re-sold unless the organiser has authorised it. Check with the relevant club.

3. The tickets aren’t transferable

Exchange websites will re-sell tickets originally bought by private individuals. Make sure the ticket you want can be transferred to you.

4. You don’t have a unique reference number

If you’re not given one, it may be a sign of a scam — you should always receive this number for every ticket purchased.

5. The ticket is at a low price

If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Occasionally, the scammers will tell a buyer that a representative will meet them at the event to hand over the tickets — but then no one shows up.

The only way to guarantee you are not being scammed is to buy directly from the event organiser, venue box office or official agent. If you are using a ticket exchange site, check online reviews for complaints or negative experiences.

Before making a purchase, the police advise shoppers to check to see whether the organisation selling tickets is part of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, which you can do at

Younger buyers aged from 19 to 34 accounted for 60 per cent of all ticket claims, TSB found. However, those aged 35 and over typically reported the biggest losses, having paid an average of £194 — two-and-a-half times more than those aged 13 to 34.

The most commonly scammed tickets are for concerts and music festivals, which make up nearly half of all claims.

That is followed by football match and flight tickets.

However, sports fans typically spend more than twice as much as those buying tickets for comedy gigs, concerts and festivals, TSB reports. Victims lose an average of £230 on tickets that then turn out to be fraudulent.

Football fans spent £170, comedy gig goers £102, concert fans £87 and festival goers £98.

Rugby fans have been left £449 out of pocket on average, according to the TSB’s figures.

Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, says: ‘Gig-goers and sports fans are regularly left deflated and out of pocket after being duped by fraudsters on social media platforms selling tickets that simply don’t exist.

‘Where possible, it’s always best to stick to trusted official ticketing sites rather than trusting a profile on social media — no matter how much you want to attend an event.’

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