Singing stars "lure" music fans to bogus ticket website in new anti-fraud campaign

Adele was one of the artists used in the anti-fraud initiative.
Adele was one of the artists used in the anti-fraud initiative.

More than 1,500 people tried to buy tickets from a fake website set up to raise awareness of online fraud.

Seats to see major acts such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Iron Maiden, Coldplay and Bruno Mars were all promoted by bogus secondary ticket site Surfed Arts.

But fans clicking through to make purchases were informed that they were not able to buy tickets and were instead advised on how to protect themselves from falling victim to real concert scams.

Organisers of the fake website have also revealed that 21,000 people nationwide have reported losing more than £21m to ticket fraudsters in the last three years.

Surfed Arts was set up by national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre Action Fraud in conjunction with City of London Police, the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and the Government-backed Get Safe Online partnership.

The initiative follows recent law changes preventing the use of computer software to make multiple ticket purchases ahead of legitimate buyers.

Ed Sheeran was also used to show ticket buyers how easy it is to get scammed.

Ed Sheeran was also used to show ticket buyers how easy it is to get scammed.

An Action Fraud spokesman said: "Recent legislation introduced will prevent the use of ‘bots’ buying tickets to re-sell at inflated prices but the threat of bogus ticket outlets remains.

"Sites like Surfed Arts don’t have any tickets to sell in the first place

"Buyers pay for what looks like tickets to concerts, festivals or sporting events only for the seller to disappear with the victim’s money or send them counterfeited tickets that aren’t valid for entry."

Tony Neate, the chief executive officer of Get Safe Online, commented: "The Surfed Arts ticket hoax clearly demonstrates how easily we can be duped when we think there is an offer to be had.

"Luckily our scam didn’t have a nasty surprise at the end but some useful information on how to protect yourself against ticket fraudsters.

“To avoid becoming a victim, do as much research as you can to ensure that the provider or person you are buying from is reputable.

"Also, when buying an event ticket, use a credit card if you can to ensure you are protected when paying. If someone asks you to transfer money directly to them, you’ll have absolutely no protection if you are scammed.”

The most common victim to report to Action Fraud is a man in his 20s.

Bank transfers were the most commonly used method to buy tickets with 64.6 percent of people saying that it was the payment method used when they were defrauded.

Of those reporting, more than 33 per cent said that the fraud had a significant effect on their life and an additional 7.8 per cent said that being defrauded in this way had severely affected them.

Ticket fraud can be reported to Action Fraud here while further advice about protecting yourself from this and other forms of cyber crime is available from Get Safe Online here.