Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Guest Post - Avoiding online ticket fraud by Matt Hicks from Safer Surfing

Matt Hicks from Safer Surfing has kindly written a Guest Post on how to avoid online ticket fraud, this subject is close to my heart I go to a lot of gigs and festivals. Two years ago my sister was caught out by a fraudulent site, which was quite a surprise as like me buys tickets quite regularly and is quite savvy when it comes to buying things online so it goes to show anyone can be caught out!

Avoiding online ticket fraud by Matt Hicks 

With the promise of enjoying top music stars, even the traditional wet British weather fails to dampen our enthusiasm for the summer festival season. Furthermore, there are perhaps more festivals offering a wider range of music than ever before, and the ease of buying tickets online rather than spending hours on the phone or in a queue is a tempting option. However, the rising popularity of “e-tickets” means that we should also be wary of related cases of fraud and other scams. 

So, what can be done to help make sure you purchase your tickets to this summer’s big gigs in safety? 

The first step is to make sure that the website you are visiting is safe to use, and not a clever attempt to get you to part with your money fraudulently. This can be difficult, and of course it always pays to be cautious. It’s also important to not get fooled by bargains, last minute deals, tickets miraculously showing up for sold out events and other similar tricks. 

Following these tips should help you to avoid the common pitfalls:

  • Be careful when you type the name of a genuine e-ticket site into your browser – some fraudsters create replicas that “typosquat” website addresses that are common mistypings of popular sites. 
  • Search the website name on a search engine and check forums and blogs to see what other people have to say about it – is it legit or not?
  • If possible, ask the advice of someone who has already purchased tickets from that website.
  • Once on the website, read the Term & Conditions and Privacy pages, as well as other significant details that could give you a clue about whether the business is genuine or not.
  • Look for contact details, other than email, such as a postal address (which should not be a P.O. Box) and telephone number (preferably landline). Try to make a call and ask details about tickets, payments, delivery, refund policy etc. Do not forget to ask whether they have a return policy as well, in case you cannot attend and you want to return/resale the ticket.
  •  Check the website of the band or event organiser to find out the exact dates when the tickets will be on sale.

Furthermore, it’s important to make sure you are following these general tips to help stay secure on the web, even when using a genuine e-ticket site:

  • Use a reliable Internet security product with antimalware protection, a firewall and spam filter, and keep it updated.
  • Do not purchase tickets from websites advertised in unsolicited e-mail messages.
  • Activate or turn on your antiphishing filter before filling in your data.
  • Ensure that the website you are entering your details into uses SSL encryption (Secure Socket Layer) and security authentication methods – look for the “https” prefix to the address and the locked padlock image in the frame of your browser.
  • Avoid using public and/ or non-secured computers. 
  • Do not purchase tickets from public computers, such as those in a library or Internet CafĂ©.
  • If you use a wireless connection, make sure that your connection is secured and encrypted and that you know and trust the owner of the access point; also, refrain from using an unsecured public wireless connection (like those in airports or hotels) when sending data over the Internet.

For further information on staying safe online, visit, the social media resource dedicated to giving easy-to-understand and effective advice on Internet security

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