Going to the theatre is an exciting event; stepping into a beautiful venue, being a part of the electric atmosphere and watching a whole new world play out before your very eyes. With so much to look forward to, it can be easy to get distracted and buy tickets from a fraudulent seller who leaves you out of pocket and with nothing to show for it. Fraudsters will sell you tickets that don’t arrive, are fake or need ID of the original purchaser, leaving you outside in the cold while the show goes on without you.
Ticket fraud is a continuing problem, with over 4,000 reports of ticket fraud reported between 1 April 2018 – 30 April 2019, worth £1,654,888. That’s an average of £365 per victim!
With summer plans on the horizon, it’s never been more important to take care when buying theatre tickets. So how can you be sure that where you buying from is legit? Well, if you see the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers logo (or STAR for short!), it means you’re in safe hands. And just to reassure you, Official London Theatre is indeed a member of STAR!
STAR is a self-regulatory body for the ticket industry and is approved by the government to help resolve disputes. Buying from a STAR member ensures you’re dealing with a company that has signed up to a strict Code of Practice and that you’ve got somewhere to turn to if anything does go wrong.
STAR are more than aware of ticket fraudsters, in fact, this week they’re partnering up with Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, to highlight the issue and share their top tips for avoiding ticket scams. This includes:
- Ensure that the website has a landline phone number and full postal address.
- Avoid using sites that just have a PO Box or mobile number.
- Double check the web address (fake websites with similar names to genuine ones are used by fraudsters).
- Make sure the web address starts with ‘https’ and displays a locked padlock icon in the address bar.
- Avoiding paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal offer greater protections against fraud.
- Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
- Being wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, advises: “To avoid disappointment, always buy tickets from an official event organiser or website and if you are tempted to buy from a secondary ticket source, always research the company or the person online before making the purchase. If you think you have been a victim of ticket fraud, report it to Action Fraud.”
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers added: “Buying from a STAR member means you are buying from an authorised ticket supplier signed up to our strict code of practice. While we hope you never have to use it, this also gets you access to our approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service.”
For more information and guidance on buying tickets safely, you can read STAR’s top tips in this handy downloadable guide.