Football fans are urged not to buy tickets on social media ahead of the new season as two supporters reveal how they were scammed by clever fraudsters.
Fans have been warned of a potential rise in football ticket scams as the Premier League got underway last weekend.
Data from Lloyds Bank earlier this week reveals there was a spike in fraud last season, with fans losing an average of £410 each.
Scams like this are thought to increase again with renewed interest in football following the Lionesses’ Euro win, the FIFA World Cup later this year and the soon-to-be-beat Premier League season. its full.
I spoke to two people who fell victim to this scam to find out how scammers manage to convince people to part with their money.
“The alarm bell rang when they wouldn’t show me the ticket”
Victoria Massey, 37, was defrauded after buying nonexistent tickets from a scammer on Instagram.
She said: “I have a Cardiff City season ticket and when we were in the Premier League we had a game against Liverpool. My friend is a huge Liverpool fan so we tried to get him tickets.
“I saw on Instagram on a fan page that someone was selling tickets so I jumped on it. They wanted £80 for one. I messaged them and they responded immediately. I told my friend, who even then asked me if it was a scam.
Ms Massey said that although she is usually warned about this sort of thing, she was keen to get a ticket sorted.
“I’m pretty excited normally, but I was very concerned about getting him a ticket. I agreed to send the money through PayPal Friends and Family because the person selling the ticket needed the money This is something I wouldn’t normally do but I really wanted this post.
“Alarm bells rang when they wouldn’t show me the ticket and the fan page account messaged me saying someone else was potentially scammed. J I immediately spoke to PayPal who tried to help me, but because I did it through friends and family (instead of paying for a good or service) there was not much they could do. Instead, they referred me to Action Fraud.
“I felt sick, I didn’t know what to do. I was still corresponding with the person selling the fake ticket, and after hours of back and forth they refunded me – because weirdly they wanted a wire transfer instead when I told them it was wire transfer my credit card on PayPal.
“I was so lucky to get my money back and blocked the scammer.
“My advice to people looking to buy football tickets is don’t be like me! I was so caught up in the idea that I could get a ticket that all common sense was gone. If it sounds too good to be true, it normally does.
“Don’t buy tickets from someone on Twitter”
Laura Tomkins, 29, felt ‘mortified’ when she fell victim to a similar scam earlier this year.
She said: “I was looking to buy football tickets for the Liverpool cup semi-final match against Manchester City FA on April 16, my birthday. As a lifelong Liverpool fan who lives in London, I felt like it was meant to be.
“I saw a few people selling tickets on Twitter so I messaged a guy who seemed very ‘real’. He gave me ‘referrals’ from people who had bought it before so I messaged them for more information before sending the money to an account he gave me that claimed to be his boss.
“I paid £80 for two tickets. I waited every day for the tickets to come in the mail and it wasn’t until I saw two other people tweeting him asking where their tickets were that I realized it was fake.
“I didn’t report to the police as I was absolutely mortified and spoke to the bank instead, but they couldn’t help me.
“My advice is not to buy tickets on Twitter as it could be a scam. I would ask to see a photo of the tickets in advance if you buy them.
“Maybe talk to the person on the phone and make sure they’re real and you’re not sending money to accounts with different names than the person you’re talking to. The last thing I would say , is to check that they do not regularly change their name on social networks and their photos because it is a key sign.
How to protect yourself
Consumers are advised to check before buying a ticket online.
If someone can’t show you the physical ticket or rushes you, it’s probably a sign that someone is trying to scam you.
Most of the time, real ticket sellers can also come to the event, so see if you can meet in person beforehand to get the ticket and pass the money.
However, many scammers are finding new ways to scam people.
Liz Ziegler, director of retail fraud and financial crime at Lloyds Bank, said fraudsters were “always looking for new ways to cheat victims with their hard-earned money”.
“With the end of pandemic restrictions, fraudsters wasted no time in targeting football fans as they flocked to stadiums,” she said.
“It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us when we follow our favorite team, but if that passion creates a good mood across the country, when it comes to buying tickets for a match, it’s important not to get caught up in the excitement.”
Ms Ziegler added that fans should “always pay by debit or credit card for the greatest protection”.
“If you’re not able to do these things, that should be a big red flag that you’re about to get ripped off,” she said.