Harry Styles fans run out of money as ticket scams spike 529%

Concert ticket scams have skyrocketed by more than 500% over the last year, with those scammed losing an average of £110, as criminals target fans of prominent acts such as Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi.

The UK live music industry has rebounded after the pandemic, but concertgoers have been warned to be on their guard against ticket scams, particularly as the festival season prepares to kick off.

A record number of tickets for live shows were sold in the UK in 2022, according to data from mobile phone company O2’s Priority platform, with sales up 43% on 2019, the year before the pandemic will shut down the live entertainment industry.

However, as concerts and festivals have returned after the lifting of Covid restrictions, ticket fraud has increased. Scammers are turning their attention to purchase scams, which involve music fans being tricked into sending money via wire transfer to buy tickets that don’t exist.

Research by Lloyds Bank showed that reported instances of people being scammed increased by 529% year on year between March 2022 and February 2023.

Fans of artists like Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Coldplay and Calvin Harris were the most common targets.

The number of scams reported by those trying to buy music festival tickets more than doubled, up 128% from the previous year. The most common festivals they went to were Reading and Leeds, Wireless at London’s Finsbury Park and Parklife in Manchester.

Scammers will target any major event where demand for tickets is likely to outstrip supply, Lloyds said. There have also been increases in the number of scams related to comedy and theater bookings, although the volume was lower, the bank added.

Liz Ziegler, director of fraud prevention at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Scammers are always changing their tactics to trick victims out of their hard-earned money. With the demand to attend live events increasing as warmer weather approaches, they will waste no time targeting music fans as they rush to collect tickets to the hottest concerts and festivals.”

Music fans are advised to only purchase concert and festival tickets from reputable sellers, and to take extra precautions when purchasing from third-party sellers.

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Consumers are advised to avoid offers that seem too good to be true (for example, rock bottom prices or sold-out event tickets) and to be cautious when purchasing tickets advertised on social media.

Many experts say that music fans should pay for tickets with a debit or credit card instead of a bank transfer, as this offers more protection if something goes wrong.

The most popular events to take place or go on sale in 2022, according to O2 and Priority data, included Peter Kay’s standup tour and concerts by The Weeknd, Sam Fender, Harry Styles and Bruce Springsteen.

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