Ticket Scamming Is A Multi-Million Dollar Business
Every year, over 50 million fans spend hard-earned money to see live performances from their favorite artists. The price tag on events continues to increase as live music experiences become more and more popular.
The average concert ticket price is at a record high sitting around $90 per seat. An estimated half a billion dollars are filling the pockets of these awful people every year. It makes complete sense why crooks are attracted to this market, as there is a lot of money to be made here.
12% of people fall victim to ticket scammers through social media and other marketplace websites like Craigslist. With many venues, particularly stadiums, going completely paperless, you likely won’t even know those digital tickets you purchased are fake until you have already arrived at the gates.
Facebook: A Hotbed For Ticket Scammers
Facebook event pages are a great place to receive important show information and updates and connect with other nearby concert-goers.
They are also a convenient place to buy and sell tickets especially with Facebook Messengers money transferring feature. However, it is a prime spot for thieves to attempt scamming you out of your cash.
Here are some tips to help you avoid being scammed on Facebook, as well as advice on how to avoid purchasing tickets on Facebook altogether!
Tip #1: Check The Venue Website Before Looking For Tickets Elsewhere
Aside from highly anticipated A-list concerts such as Adele, Jack White, or Taylor Swift, which all sell out in a matter of minutes, you likely have time to purchase tickets directly from the venue. If not, call the venue and see if they have any third-party vendors they trust.
I work part-time in the box office at a relatively large venue in the Twin Cities. I cannot tell you how many times we have had people come through the doors with fake tickets while I have a large stack of tickets still available for that night’s show laying next to me, available for purchase.
Tip #2: Make A Shout Out To Your Friends
Asking if your friends have an extra ticket is something many often don’t do. I can recall multiple occasions when I found out a friend was trying to get rid of an extra after the concert was over.
Another trick is to type in the artist name in the Facebook search box, hit enter, then select “Posts”. This view will show you all of your friends who have made a recent post about that particular artist. Scroll through to see if anyone has made a status about an extra ticket.
People who have a connection to you, even if you don’t know them that well, wouldn’t dare ruin their reputation by scamming you.
Tip #3: Purchase Tickets From Reputable Re-Sale Sites
If you find yourself in a situation where a show has sold out, or you have exhausted all your options and have no other choice but to turn to the secondary market to get tickets, do not start on Facebook.
Start with websites such as Ticketmaster, StubHub, VividSeats, or verified re-sale sites through the NFL, NBA, or MLB for tickets to sporting events. Additionally, make sure the website you are on is legitimate.
If you get scammed on Facebook, you are out totally out of luck, but websites such as Ticketmaster and StubHub have ways of confirming that the tickets that are being re-sold are legitimate, meaning the tickets you purchase through those sites are guaranteed to work, or you get your money back.
Many sketchy resale sites will pay for their website to show up at the top of Google searches, knowing many people associate higher rankings with more trustworthy sites. Keep an eye out for a little green ad box that will indicate what sites are a paid advertisement.
Tip #4: Emergencies And Other Excuses
You might notice an increase in social media posts made by scammers day-of the event, posting statuses like, “Family went out of town so I am unable to attend! PM me!” or “My friends bailed on me so I’m selling our tickets CHEAP! DM me!”
Often times they allude to family emergencies being the reason for the “quick” or “discounted” sale because they know many people will not feel comfortable asking questions.
When you are desperate to attend a concert, and it’s literally hours before the start of the even, you may not be thinking clearly enough to spot subtle indicators of fraud.
If this person’s family is truly out of town and are unable to attend, why are they waiting until roughly two hours before the venue doors are scheduled to open to find a buyer?
Tip #5: Scammers Will Ask You What Show You’re Enquiring About
Many fraudulent accounts will post the same message on multiple events, this is why they ask to clarify which show you are inquiring about.
Tip #6: Sounding Pushy or Rushed
Scammers can be very pushy, oftentimes rushing you before you have time to think about the decision. it can be a costly and extremely embarrassing learning experience, so try to avoid it at all costs.
Tip #7: Visit the Sellers Facebook Profile
Upon further inspection, you’ll also see that most of the Facebook profiles who are posting tickets for sale are completely bogus.
Do some preliminary research on the person who posted the tickets for sale. Look at their profile. See if they have a reasonable number of friends (the average number for users in the U.S. is 338.)
The phony accounts have almost always been created sometime within the last seven days, contain absolutely no personal information or connections, and often times have only one or two photos—usually of a young, attractive woman.
If their account isn’t private, you’ll be able to see a regular posting history on their timeline with legitimate comments and interactions from their friends.
Tip #8: Gift Cards And Other Forms Of Payment
Another thing that is common among scammers is that a dollar amount is almost never given. Their post often contains a call-to-action requesting the reader reach out to them via private message to discuss the price and exchanging of tickets.
The question that typically surfaces is, “How much are you willing to pay?”
As I said before, with Facebook’s new ability to transfer money directly through its Messenger app, purchasing these tickets should be easier than ever.
“I prefer you pay me with an Amazon card. You can get it at any store near you or online at Amazon.com!”
However, almost all of the people I contacted who claimed they had tickets for sale wanted me to purchase a gift card (Amazon, Target, Steam) for that exact amount, and send them the code in exchange for the tickets.
Don’t fall for it. This person is going to take your money, which you’ve so conveniently given to them in the form of a gift card and send you a ticket that they have likely sent to a dozen other people.
Tip #9: Ask To Confirm Identification
Ask them if they have physical tickets or electronic tickets and verify how they plan on making the exchange. Personally, I would never purchase tickets from someone that was not willing to meet me in person.
What you can do is explain to the seller that ticket fraud is a very common thing today, and politely ask them to send a photo of their driver’s license that matches the name and picture on their social media account.
If the seller is not willing to send a proof of ID or make the transaction in public, they are a ticket scammer.
Use your best judgment. If something feels off, or in any way sketchy, don’t go through with the transaction.
I understand the allure of wanting to see your favorite band, and how difficult it can be to miss their show, but you’ll be in a world of hurt after you lose your money and miss the show due to fake tickets.
Many people have the mindset of “This would never happen to me!” is dangerous and wrong. You would be very surprised to sit next to me in the box office during a sold-out show and count how many people are sent back to us because their tickets would not scan.