Football fans told to be on guard against match ticket scams


Football tickets not coming home: Fans warned over scam that surged at the tail-end of last season driven by fake offers for big clubs

  • Reported match ticket scams up by two-thirds in the second half of last season
  • Victims losing £410 on average, though for some it can be thousands
  • Fans of major clubs and national teams the most likely to be targeted 
  • Facebook and Twitter the most common hunting ground for fraudsters

Football fans looking forward to the new Premier League season kicking off tonight should be on their guard against match ticket scams, new data shows.

These scams increased by more than two-thirds in the second half of last season, according to analysis by Lloyds Bank, with victims losing £410 on average, and in some cases thousands of pounds.  

It comes just days after an 87,192 strong crowd at Wembley watched the Lionesses win the European Championship by beating Germany 2-1 and with Arsenal kicking off the Premier League season tonight against Crystal Palace.

Lloyds is warning that fans of major clubs and national teams are the most likely to be targeted, with criminals preying on their desperation to attend matches, knowing that most major fixtures across the country will be sold out.

Reported cases of football ticket scams increased by over two-thirds in the second half of last season, with victims losing £410 on average

Liz Ziegler, retail fraud and financial crime director at Lloyds Bank, said: ‘Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash, and with pandemic restrictions coming to an end, they wasted no time in targeting football fans as they flocked back to stadiums.

‘It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us when following our favourite team. 

‘But while that passion makes for a great atmosphere in grounds across the country, when it comes to buying tickets for a match, it’s important not to get carried away in the excitement.

‘The vast majority of these scams start on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that simply don’t exist.

‘These criminals are ready to disappear as soon as they have their hands on your money.’

How the scam works

Purchase scams occur when someone is tricked into sending money via bank transfer to buy goods or services – often advertised online or via social media – that don’t exist.

Twitter and Facebook are often the starting places for the vast majority of these scams, according to Lloyds.

When tickets are scarce, fraudsters know they can cash in on desperate supporters willing to pay much more.

Unsurprisingly, it’s fans of the so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs in England (Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea) and the national team – in other words, where demand for tickets is strongest – who are most likely to fall victim.

Once the money has been paid, the fraudster disappears, and the victim receives nothing in return.

How to stay safe when buying football tickets

Many people are unaware that bank transfers were not designed as a way of paying for goods and services, and offer little protection if something goes wrong. 

It’s the electronic equivalent of just handing over your cash to someone in the street.

However, buyers who pay by credit card benefit from the well-established Section 75 rules which have been protecting customers for decades.

Debit card payments and purchases are not covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. 

However, it is possible to make a claim for a refund under a voluntary scheme called chargeback.

The English Premier League makes clear that for those looking to buy tickets for matches, should buy them directly from the clubs. Clubs should also provide details of any authorised ticket partners on their official website.

It’s also important to remember that fraudsters will target any major event where demand for tickets is likely to exceed supply.

Low prices and seemingly great deals are often used to disguise scams. But remember, if demand is high or a game is sold out, fraudsters can charge more to trick desperate buyers.

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