Taylor Swift and Olympics Ticket Scams Fuel Scams in 2024

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  • author, Charlotte Edwards
  • role Business reporter

Fake Olympics and Taylor Swift tickets are the two biggest online scams consumers are likely to encounter this year, UK Finance has warned.

The warning came as the banking lobby group said the number of people defrauded by romance and shopping scams had hit new highs last year.

Overall, criminals stole £1.17bn in 2023, a 4% drop on 2022, according to the fraud group’s annual report.

But UK Finance said abuse of online platforms continues to leave people vulnerable. He urged tech companies to do more to help stop fraud.

Consumers lost £86m last year to purchase fraud where they agreed to pay for something that never materialised, UK Finance said.

This is 28% more than in 2022. In total, there were more than 156,000 cases of such fraud last year.

“Every year we see a cycle of fraud that changes over the year,” said Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance.

“The Olympics and Taylor Swift are the two biggest examples this year.”

More than 600 of the bank’s customers reported losing money.

UK Finance said fraudsters often convince victims to pay for goods by bank transfer instead of an official website.

“Tickets for major events such as the Olympics, Euro 2024, Glastonbury or Taylor Swift sell out quickly and people often look online for better deals so they don’t miss out.”

“Criminals will use this as an opportunity to try and trick you into buying tickets that are either fraudulent or don’t exist,” UK Finance’s Andy Donald warned.

UK Finance’s annual report found some progress in tackling fraud, which is the UK’s most common crime and has increased during the pandemic.

It said the total number of cases was down 1% from 2022 to an estimated 2.97 million, with fraud involving payment cards accounting for the vast majority.

The report found that losses due to unauthorized transactions fell by 3% to £708.7m last year, a drop it said was due to improved customer verification practices.

UK Finance also said there was also less money lost to fraud where payments were allowed.

These losses fell by 5% to £459.7m as cases involving criminals posing as banks or the police fell sharply.

However, according to the report, the number of victims and money stolen in romance scams, where people are tricked into believing they are in a relationship, reached a record last year.

Losses in these cases increased by 17% to £36 million and involved an average of 10 payments per case.

This loss is twice the amount reported for the same type of fraud in 2020.

“Stolen money funds serious organized crime and victims often suffer emotional damage as fraud is a damaging and manipulative crime,” Mr Donaldson said.

The new regulations are due to come into effect on October 7 this year, which will mean payment service providers in the UK must reimburse customers who have fallen victim to payment fraud. But there are some exceptions to this rule.

UK Finance said the change adds urgency to the fight against fraud.

“With the reimbursement rules set to change, we risk even more money falling into the hands of criminals unless the technology and telecoms sectors take [proper] action to stop fraud spreading across their platforms and networks,” Mr Donaldson said.

How to spot and avoid fraud

  • Do your research on the company you’re buying from and only buy tickets from the venue, promoter (like Live Nation), official agent (like Ticketmaster) or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site
  • Search engines like Google aren’t always the best place to look, as unauthorized ticket sellers can buy their way to the top of ad listings
  • Look out for the STAR logo – this means the seller is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers and signals the company has subscribed to strict governing standards
  • Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if you are buying from a stranger. A credit card or payment services like PayPal give you a better chance of getting your money back if you fall victim to fraud
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or advertisements offering incredibly good deals on tickets – more than likely such offers are too good to be true

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