£40,000 recouped to help pay back defrauded customers
There's some good news for the ticket buying public today as it has been announced that Wandsworth council have foiled an international gang of online fraudsters. The fraudsters were fleecing music and comedy lovers by selling non-existent tickets to top concerts.
The websites the gang used for this scam were www.barry-manilow-2012-support.com, www.coldplay-tour-2012.com, www.il-divo-live.com, www.jls-tickets.com, www.michael-mcintyre-live.net, www.michael-mcintyre.com and www.westlife-concert-tickets-support.com
The gang have now been put out of business following action by Wandsworth’s trading standards team but unfortunately not before they swindled around 1,900 people from all across the country.
The gang were advertising bogus tickets for popular performers including JLS, Coldplay, Barry Manilow, Westlife Il Divo and Michael McIntyre.
The fraudsters set up at least half a dozen websites promising tickets for these artists at some of London’s best venues including the O2 Arena.
Following the council’s investigation, all the websites have been shut down and action has been taken to stop the gang collecting any more money from unsuspecting victims.
Now the council is warning music lovers to carefully check who they buy tickets from – and to avoid handing over cash to unauthorised outlets.
The scam came to light because the fraudsters were inadvertently using a Wandsworth Council owned building as a mailing address.
Trading standards officers were alerted after a woman from Aberdeen contacted bosses at the O2 because her JLS tickets hadn’t arrived. Staff at the music venue then traced the gang’s “registered” address and tipped off trading standards.
The council’s investigators then discovered that the gang had used the same address to register seven bogus websites.
They immediately identified the Internet Service Provider (ISP) hosting these sites and took swift action to have them shut down. They also contacted Google and made sure the websites were de-listed from the company’s search engines and also took steps to deactivate the online facilities the gang was using to process cash payments.
As a result of the council’s action, some £40,000 was frozen before it could be pocketed by gang members. This will now be used by credit card companies to reimburse customers who have lost out.
“As soon as we got wind of what was happening we were able to step in and put a stop to this unpleasant scam. Unfortunately a lot of people have paid money for tickets that are never going to arrive, but at least we have managed to stop the criminals pocketing all the cash and ensured that £40,000 is available to help pay back the victims.”
Chief trading standards officer Christopher Roe
Online ticket scams have been a growing problem over the past few years with scam sites springing up alongside secondary sites faster than the authorities can detect them.
Safeconcerts have been warning the public about the state of the ticket market for several years. Due to the levels of concern about the number of people getting caught by online ticket frauds Safeconcerts created the only online ticket directory on the web, the Be Ticket Safe Directory®. This online database allows you to check for details about the website you are thinking of buying from. We have frequently flagged up sites well before anyone else and if we haven't added the website to our database there is often an early warning on the forum.
Safeconcerts has a specific area of the website dedicated to helping people avoid ticket fraud, what to do if you are a victim of ticket fraud and how to buy tickets without getting caught out.
Ticket frauds and ticket scams are designed to prey on the unwary, they are clever and devious but you do not have to become a victim. We can stamp out ticket fraud and ticket touts by buying only from primary sources. Take just a bit of time when buying your ticket - Safeconcerts Be Ticket Safe will give you all the information you need to avoid ticket fraud.