5 common Ticketmaster scams: Don’t let fraudsters steal the show

5 common Ticketmaster scams: Don’t let fraudsters steal the show


Scammers gonna scam scam scam, so before hunting for your tickets to a Taylor Swift gig or other in-demand events, learn how to stop fraudsters from leaving a blank space in your bank account

5 common Ticketmaster scams: How fraudsters steal the show

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

Although Ticketmaster, StubHub and other ticketing companies are taking significant steps to make this harder – 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 to shake scammers off when hunting for tickets.

Top 5 Ticketmaster scams to look out for

You might encounter variations on any of the below. Be on your lookout for:

1. Lookalike websites

These are spoofed to appear as if legitimate Ticketmaster site or official partner/trusted seller, complete with official logo and branding. However, on closer inspection they’ll be hosted at an inauthentic domain. Sometimes the difference may be just a letter or two and hard to spot.

Oftentimes, scammers will send you a phishing email, text or social media message encouraging you to visit the site to buy tickets for a sold-out and/or upcoming show. These phishing sites may even be SEO-optimized in order to push them up search rankings, so that they appear at the top when you look online for the official version of the site.

Either way, the end goal is the same: to harvest your Ticketmaster logins and personal and card details. The former can be used to hijack your account (see later).

2. Bogus tickets

What happens when the show you desperately want to see has sold out on the official Ticketmaster site? You might turn to social media, often Facebook Marketplace, or third-party sites like StubHub or Craigslist. But beware.

Often, scammers advertise fake tickets on these sites. They’ll likely post photos of real-looking tickets to draw you in, and offer them for sale at an unbelievably low price. Sometimes they hack legitimate social media accounts to do this.

They’ll pressure you into full payment – likely by bank transfer, ZelleVenmo, etc. or even gift card. And sometimes they’ll 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 schemes above. Scammers create fake websites featuring a fake support number to contact in the event of an issue. These will also be optimized to appear at the top of search results when you’re looking for a customer support number.

Alternatively, the scammers may call you direct, or send you phishing emails claiming there’s a problem with your purchase and requesting you to call them. They will sound professional and courteous over the phone, all the while working out a way to trick you into handing over personal/financial and/or account details including log-ins.

4. Replicated tickets/duplicate listings

Scammers look for individuals reselling their tickets online, who have posted pics of those tickets. Then they replicate the ticket, including barcode and/or QR code, and resell it as many times as they can. Only the buyer lucky enough to be the first through the door will get in – the others will be left out in the cold.

5. Account takeover

This isn’t technically a scam but can result from one, if you’re unfortunate to fall for some of the above tactics and hand over your logins to a fraudster. Alternatively, they may be able to crack your account if you reuse the logins across other sites (one of which has been breached), or use easy-to-guess logins which can be “brute-forced” by password-guessing software.

Once they gain access to your Ticketmaster account, scammers could buy tickets in your name and/or send purchased tickets to themselves. If that happens, it can be difficult persuading ticketing sites that you have genuinely been the victim of fraud – so do your best to keep that account secure in the first place.

I knew you were trouble – how to stay safe online

Follow these simple rules to steer clear of Ticketmaster scams:

  • Only buy tickets from official sources. According to Santander, 67% of ticket scam victims say they were tricked on social media.
  • When visiting Ticketmaster, always check the URL. And always visit the site direct rather than clicking through from links in emails.
  • Don’t pay via wire transfer or gift card, or instant cash transfer apps like Venmo, Zelle, Cash App etc.
  • If you can’t resist buying via social media, steer clear of sellers with no details in their bio, few followers, and who tend to only post about ticket sales.
  • Don’t buy tickets advertised via photo with the barcode/QR code visible: it’s probably been copied by a scammer.
  • Never post a picture of your own ticket, even if you’re selling it legitimately.
  • Be sceptical 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 switching on two-factor authentication and using a strong, unique password or passphrase (saved in a password manager).

What to do if you get scammed

If you do end up as the victim of a scam:

  • Contact Ticketmaster or the resale site. If the tickets are duplicates, there’s always a chance they can reissue yours and invalidate the fake ones.
  • If you’re in the US, report the scam to the FTC.
  • File a report with your local police force. This may be necessary if you’re looking to be reimbursed by your bank.
  • Keep an eye on your bank/credit balance and online accounts, in case your details are being used for identity fraud.
  • In the event of an account takeover, change the passwords on any other accounts that share the same logins.
  • File a chargeback if you’ve bought via a card.

Ticketing scams are, of course, not confined to Ticketmaster. Follow the same advice, whatever platform you’re a customer of.

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Scams Scammers gonna scam scam scam, so before hunting for your tickets to a Taylor Swift gig or other in-demand events, learn how to stop fraudsters from leaving a blank space in your bank account 09 Jul 2024  •  , 5 min. read Thanks to advances in technology, buying tickets to your favorite show has…

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