It’s that time of year again when many people don their wellies, grab their camping equipment and head off to one of the many festivals taking place up and down the country.
But if you are planning to head off to one of these events and you haven’t yet bought a ticket (obviously it’s too late for Glastonbury), how can you be sure you won’t get caught out by websites selling fake tickets?
The answer? Ensure you follow these top tips.
1. The site is offering tickets for sold out events
The first thing you should be wary of is if the website is claiming to sell tickets for a sold out event. If the event is sold out, it’s sold out! Don’t get trapped into thinking that you might be able to pick up some last minute tickets, as chances are they won’t exist.
Of course, if an event is sold out, you may be able to buy tickets through a secondary website such as Seatwave or Viagogo where customers can sell tickets they’ve already bought but no longer want. But you should be careful doing this as you may have to pay a lot more than the tickets are worth.
And again, you need to ensure the website isn’t a fake.
2. Tickets are available before they’ve gone on sale
Similarly, if you’re eagerly awaiting tickets for your favourite band or festival to go on sale and you suddenly spot some on a website a few weeks beforehand, don’t get sucked in. The website will be fake.
To ensure you’ve got the right date, always check websites such as Seetickets, Ticketmaster and Ticketline. Alternatively, check with the venue itself.
3. Tickets are cheap
If you’ve spotted tickets that appear to be a fantastic bargain and way below any other prices you’ve seen, be very suspicious. Although the temptation might be to purchase them, if you do so, you’re likely to receive nothing in return.
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Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
4. No address
Always check to see whether there is a full address on the website, because if there isn’t, or if it’s just a P.O. Box address, it’s likely to be a fake site. You should also be wary if the address is only hidden away in the small print.
5. Only contact details are an email or mobile number
Similarly, if the only way to contact the company is by email or by a mobile phone number, you should look for tickets elsewhere. Always ensure there are full contact details and a landline number included on the website.
6. No ‘About us’ link
If you also find it difficult to locate full details about the company and what it does, you should avoid it at all costs. The ‘About us’ section of the website usually explains who the company is and where it’s registered, so if it’s non-existent, chances are the tickets you order will be too.
7. Riddled with spelling mistakes
Read the website very carefully. If you notice a lot of spelling or grammatical errors there’s a good chance it’s a fake site.
Scammers are also very clever at using names that sound official or similar to the real deal – so if you notice that it sounds a little similar to a well-known ticket seller or the web address uses a misspelt name, make sure you steer clear.
8. Unsecure payments
Before you enter any payment details, always ensure there’s a padlock symbol on the screen and the web address at the top of the page changes to ‘https://’ as opposed to the usual ‘http’ as the ‘s’ signifies it’s secure.
If none of these are present, it’s not a site to be trusted.
The above tips should help you to spot a fake website before it’s too late. However, there are other things you can do to ensure you’re not applying for tickets on a dodgy site.
Firstly, always run a web search on the website you’re hoping to buy tickets through to see if anyone has criticised it. Music websites will often post information about websites they think are fake so it’s also a good idea to check these as well as venue websites for information about which agents are authorised to sell tickets.
You could also look to see whether the company you’re buying from is a member of STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers). If it is, this will mean you have an independent means of redress through a recognised self-regulatory body should anything go wrong.