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When you're hoping to see your favourite band, football team or even theatre production, the frenzy that surrounds a ticket launch can send you on a desperate hunt from site to site trying to nab yourself a ticket. But do you know how to spot the tell-tale signs of a ticketing scam? Don’t worry – we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Things you should know

When searching for tickets online, you may bounce from one site to another, coming across some that you’ve never heard of before. But don’t be fooled by even the most professional looking site, as it’s really not that hard for fraudsters to set up a fake website that looks and feels as though it’s genuine. You may even believe that you’ve heard of the name before, as many scammers will use a name or website address similar to a well-known brand or site, to trick you into thinking that they’re legit.

Once you’re on the site, it will often offer tickets to an event that haven’t even gone on sale yet, or are already sold out (a quick Google search will show you this). If you’ve not spotted this and go ahead to purchase your tickets, the site will process your order and give you instructions on what to do next. You may be told to meet someone at the venue to collect your tickets (though they probably won’t turn up) or you could receive the tickets, only to be notified that they’re fakes once you arrive at the venue.

Buying tickets off sites like GumTree, eBay, or social media sites like Twitter or Facebook can carry its risks too, as you’ll have no way of knowing that the tickets aren’t genuine until you reach the venue. Many fans have been duped by this, including Beyoncé fans last year.

Protect yourself

To make sure that you don’t fall victim to a scam like this, try to follow these simple guidelines:

• Only buy tickets from the venue box office, promoter of the event or a reputable ticket exchange site or agent.

• A legitimate site should have the STAR logo (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) featured somewhere. You can check that they’re genuine members by contacting the organisation directly.

• If you’ve never heard of the site before, do a quick search to see whether there’s any negative reviews on forums.

• You should only make ticket purchases from a site that begins with “https” and features a closed padlock in the address bar, when you reach the payment page.

• Always pay for your tickets with your credit card if it’s over £100, as you’ll be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – for example if the site goes bust, or is unable to supply the tickets for some reason you should be able to get your money back from your card provider.

• Be wary of sites that include telephone numbers starting 070 or 004470 as these numbers can be set up online and answered anywhere in the world.

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