Don’t let fraudsters steal the show

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Scammers are running a scam, so before you start hunting for your tickets to a Taylor Swift performance or other in-demand events, learn how to stop fraudsters from leaving an empty space in your bank account

ticketmaster scams

Thanks to advances in technology, buying tickets to your favorite show has probably never been easier – as long as you can tolerate virtual queues sometimes and you’re not a Swiftie, of course. On the other hand, it has never been easier for fraudsters to subvert the process and misuse the names and images of the rich and famous to insert themselves into the buying process for their own gain.

While Ticketmaster, StubHub and other ticketing companies are taking significant steps to make this more difficult – for example by encouraging mobile ticketing – there are always opportunities for the bad guys to cause ‘bad blood’.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the following top five Ticketmaster scams and how you can deter scammers when looking for tickets.

Top 5 Ticketmaster Scams to Watch Out For

You may encounter variations on any of the options below. Be wary of:

1. Lookalike websites

These are faked to look like a legitimate Ticketmaster site or an official partner/trusted retailer, complete with official logo and branding. However, upon closer inspection, they are hosted on an inauthentic domain. Sometimes the difference is only a letter or two and difficult to recognize.

Often, scammers will send you a phishing email, text message, or social media message encouraging you to visit the site to purchase tickets to a sold-out and/or upcoming show. These phishing sites may even be SEO optimized to help them rank higher in search results, so they appear at the top when you search online for the official version of the site.

Either way, the end goal is the same: collecting your Ticketmaster logins and personal and ticket information. The first can be used to hijack your account (see later).

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2. Fake tickets

What happens if the show you really want to see is sold out on the official Ticketmaster site? You can turn to social media, often Facebook Marketplace, or third-party sites like StubHub or Craigslist. But watch out.

Scammers often advertise on these sites with fake tickets. They’ll probably post pictures of real-looking tickets to lure you in, and offer them for sale at an incredibly low price. Sometimes they hack into legitimate social media accounts to do this.

They will pressure you to make full payment – ​​probably via wire transfer, Zelle, Venmo, etc. or even a gift card. And sometimes they promise to meet you in person at the show to hand them over. Of course there is no ticket.

3. Fake support numbers

This is a variation on the above schemes. Scammers create fake websites with a fake support number to contact in case of a problem. These are also optimized to appear at the top of search results when you look for a customer support number.

Alternatively, the scammers may call you directly or send you phishing emails claiming there is a problem with your purchase and asking you to call them. They will sound professional and courteous on the phone, all the while figuring out a way to trick you into handing over personal/financial and/or account information, including logins.

4. Replicated tickets/duplicates

Scammers look for people who resell their tickets online and who have posted photos of those tickets. They then replicate the ticket, including barcode and/or QR code, and resell it as often as possible. Only the buyer who is lucky enough to get through the door first gets in; the others are left out in the cold.

5. Account takeover

This isn’t technically a scam, but it could be the result of a scam if you’re unlucky enough to fall for one of the above tactics and hand over your login information to a fraudster. Alternatively, they could potentially crack your account if you reuse the logins on other sites (one of which has been hacked), or use easy-to-guess logins that can be “brute-forced” by password guessing software.

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Once they gain access to your Ticketmaster account, scammers can purchase tickets in your name and/or send purchased tickets to themselves. When that happens, it can be difficult to convince ticketing sites that you have actually been a victim of fraud. So do your best to keep that account safe in the first place.

I Knew You Made Trouble: How to Stay Safe Online

Follow these simple rules to avoid Ticketmaster scams:

  • Only buy tickets from official sources. According to Santander67% of ticket scam victims say they have been misled on social media.
  • When visiting Ticketmaster, always check the URL. And always visit the site directly instead of clicking through links in emails.
  • Do not pay via bank transfer or gift card, or instant money transfer apps such as Venmo, Zelle, Cash App etc.
  • If you can’t resist buying on social media, steer clear of sellers with no details in their bios, few followers, and who tend to only post about ticket sales.
  • Do not buy tickets advertised via a photo and where the barcode/QR code is visible: it has probably been copied by a scammer.
  • Never post a photo of your own ticket, even if you are selling it legitimately.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited emails about tickets. Look for suspicious sender names.
  • Try to avoid buying printed tickets. Mobile options are much harder to scam/replicate.
  • Protect your account from takeover attempts by enabling two-factor authentication and using a strong, unique password or passphrase (stored in a password manager).

What to do if you get scammed

If you do become a victim of fraud:

  • Please contact Ticketmaster or the resale site. If the tickets are duplicates, there is always a chance that they can reissue yours and invalidate the fake tickets.
  • If you are in the US, report the scam to the FTC.
  • Report it to your local police. This may be necessary if you want to receive a refund from your bank.
  • Keep an eye on your bank/credit balance and online accounts in case your details are used for identity fraud.
  • In the event of an account takeover, change the passwords of other accounts that share the same logins.
  • File a chargeback if you purchased via card.
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Ticket fraud is of course not limited to Ticketmaster. Follow the same advice, no matter which platform you are a customer of.

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