01 Dec Protect yourself from heartbreak: Verifying the authenticity of Taylor Swift tickets amidst rising phishing scams
As Taylor Swift’s glitter-filled Eras Tour goes to Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Denver, a Swiftie you know and love might be duped.
It’s a scenario that fans in other places, like as Atlanta and Nashville, are all too familiar with.
Swift’s Eras Tour began in Glendale, Arizona in March, and her final date in the United States was in August 9th in California. Following that, international performances were held in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil and next will be held in Europe and Asia. Scammers adore it.
Unforeseen to her parents, a minor in the Atlanta region lost roughly $350 when she purchased two fraudulent tickets in an Instagram scam. Her parents requested that her name not be revealed in order to avoid being targeted by fraudsters.
Since she was five years old, she had been commenting on verified Instagram profiles put up by other Taylor Swift followers, known as Swifties. In January, she was contacted personally by someone regarding tickets for sale. The vendor even provided documentation in the form of a snapshot of Taylor Swift tickets for one of three Atlanta shows, which took place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium from April 28 to 30.
The adolescent was unaware that the screenshots of the tickets might be readily fabricated. She ended up paying money through Venmo and Cash App because the vendor continued asking for additional money, including a bogus $85 charge to transfer a Ticketmaster ticket to her. As more fees were imposed, the high school student knew something was wrong.
Suddenly, the merchant who had her money was unable to communicate with her.
“She ghosted me for like a week,” the young lady explained over the phone. The vendor said that she had dropped her phone in the toilet and that it was no longer functional. Whatever. By this point, the customer had realized it was a hoax.
She, like many fans, didn’t want to go to a concert only to witness a spectacular performance. She was anxious to visit an old friend, someone whose words had helped her get through difficult times when she was younger, someone she felt she had grown up with over the years. “Her music, it touched something in me,” affirmed.
Even though everything worked out in the end, she’s still upset about the fraudsters and the fact that she never got to meet Taylor Swift in person. In an odd twist, someone she met on TikTok subsequently handed her one Taylor Swift ticket to a Nashville show, which she couldn’t attend but was able to sell to another Swiftie via a reseller on Twitter for $475. That admirer even emailed her a video of the show, and everything went swimmingly. In a way.
Scammers understand why the Swifties are required.
According to reports, the Better Business Bureau has received over 200 complaints about Swift, ranging from difficulties securing a refund to blatant frauds.
According to a tip to the Better Business Bureau’s ScamTracker, a fan in Columbus, Ohio, saw $690 vanish via Venmo in late May while attempting to acquire three Taylor Swift tickets from someone named Dawn on a Facebook mothers group. The vendor included images of her tickets. Following the payment, the vendor erased her Facebook account and banned the Facebook fan.
In May, a New Jersey fan lost $750 after discovering Taylor Swift tickets on another Facebook group. Because members of the group must be confirmed, the buyer trusted the vendor. She had no idea that the genuine account had been hijacked. The funds were sent via Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment software. According to reports, the fan never received the tickets.
As to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, another Swiftie reported losing $2,500 for three tickets after submitting money via Zelle. The fan was given digital tickets, but they did not scan at the gate.
We understand how much you want to see Taylor Swift. However, the scammers are desperate for your money.
Why do ticket frauds persist?
Con artists defraud people for huge names, large games, and big events. According to the BBB ScamTraker report, one customer lost $550 on tickets to the French Open tennis event, popularly known as Roland-Garros. The tickets were never delivered.
Scammers take advantage of the buzz.
Why do scammers sell phony tickets? Many fans are eager to obtain tickets to sold-out events. Especially after a drop in large tours during the epidemic. Even exorbitant ticket costs aren’t deterring fans who want to see a well-known singer like Taylor Swift, who told a sold-out crowd in East Rutherford, New Jersey, “I really, really missed you!”
“They feel like it’s OK to splurge a little bit,” said Teresa Murray, director of the Consumer Watchdog branch for the nonprofit advocacy group US PIRG.
Taylor Swift appeared onstage on the opening night of her “Eras Tour” at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 31, 2023.
Scammers, according to Murray, frequently need to generate a feeling of urgency in order to convince people to suspend their skepticism even for a few moments. You’ll rush at the chance to get those tickets if you believe they’ll be snapped up quickly by someone else.
The young Atlanta enthusiast had no idea that fraudsters may easily influence customers by sending bogus photographs and impersonating well-known brands or other fans.
Of course, fake tickets may cause serious heartache. Murray advised that a scam artist may have legitimate tickets and send the identical photo to you and everyone else as part of the same hoax.
Remember that con artists have been hard at work for months and in numerous marketplaces around the country figuring out methods to steal hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time by selling bogus tickets.
If you happen to get tickets, don’t share images of them: An FBI warning states that the barcode present on most tickets is a “goldmine for scammers.”
Select a secure payment method.
Don’t use a Target gift card, Zelle, Venmo, Bitcoin ATM, or debit card to purchase tickets: Consumer watchdog organizations have noted that some ticket-related frauds, like other scams, take advantage of payment mechanisms that cause victims to lose money rapidly.
According to watchdogs, some customers used Target gift cards to purchase bogus concert tickets. “Ticketmaster will never ask you to purchase a Ticketmaster Gift Card or any other type of third-party gift card to use as a form of payment for tickets,” the company warns.
While it is OK to give money to friends using payment applications, do not send money to strangers in this manner.
Another red flag: The fraudsters instructed the young woman in Atlanta that she shouldn’t categorize the sale as “goods and services.” That should have been a warning sign, the adolescent now advises others.
A consumer may be covered under such a plan if the transaction does not proceed as planned, although this does not apply to all purchases. There are restrictions, such as placing a deposit on an apartment or purchasing concert tickets from individuals you do not directly know.
When using Venmo to buy a product or service, the transaction must be identified as a purchase before sending the money. Before paying, the customer should check the “eligible items covered by purchase protection” list, which may be located under the “Pay” button. You would want to purchase from authorized business accounts.
On June 5, a customer in Philadelphia reported to the BBB that she was almost duped out of $1,200 for four Taylor Swift tickets. The lady selling the tickets claimed to be using her niece’s Venmo account “under the handle @rachelraae.”
The scammer also stated, “Don’t turn on purchase when sending.” Scammers will frequently advise you not to designate the money as a purchase, according to Venmo. “When you tag a payment to a personal profile as a purchase, your payments for eligible items will be covered by Purchase Protection, and you can contact us afterward if something goes wrong,” a spokesperson for Venmo said.
Nonetheless, Venmo suggests that you should not use your Venmo account to pay for tickets from strangers.
The Philadelphia customer got skeptical and did not transfer money. She subsequently Googled the phone number and discovered that another individual had been defrauded for Taylor Swift tickets using same number.
If you have a credit card, you may wish to use it to make another online purchase if you feel the vendor is real. You don’t want to give a fraudster your credit card number over the phone or input it on a shady website.
According to a BBB caution, scammers might utilize low-cost tickets to deceive individuals into inputting their credit card information. Scammers will then use your credit card information to purchase expensive things. Your ticket is never delivered.
In general, if you use a credit card, you may reject fraudulent charges and have a greater chance of getting your money back.
Watch out for copycat sites: According to a BBB caution, searching for tickets on the internet for a company like Ticketmaster or StubHub might lead you to a completely other website. Consumers are encouraged to examine the website’s URL carefully for misspellings. Impostors establish fake websites with domain names that mimic well-known company names.
Handle secure websites that begin with “HTTPS” and display a “lock” symbol in the URL bar.
Another important note: Ticketmaster does not sell resale tickets for Taylor Swift events on their website. Ticketmaster has not made resale tickets for the Eras Tour accessible.
According to the BBB, buyers should exercise extreme caution when purchasing tickets from Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other free internet ads. Scammers are skilled at providing plausible tickets and false receipts.
If a Taylor Swift ticket costs $100, it’s probably too good to be true.
Bargains are out: No one, repeat no one, will underprice Taylor Swift tickets. If someone messages you with the words “Hey girl,” the young consumer in Atlanta says, expect it to be a scam message. Scammers, she claims, have an unusual manner.
And three hundred dollars for two tickets? Most likely not.
A six-digit code indicates trouble: According to Murray of PIRG, con artists who claim to be selling tickets or renting you a vacation house or selling a car may say they need to send you a number to authenticate your identification. They argue that there are many fraudsters out there and that they need to ensure you’re genuine.
It’s generally a six-digit number produced somewhere else, which you’ll need to recite back to the vendor so they can use it for a fraud. Do not attempt it.
In rare situations, they may use the code to create a “Google Voice” account in your name and use that phone number to defraud others in your name. How lovely.
What are Ticket Bot Attacks?
Ticket bots are sophisticated software programs that are meant to take advantage of online sales platforms in order to obtain an unfair edge over human customers. When faced with high-demand events, these bots use a variety of strategies to obtain tickets before actual fans. They frequently utilize batch requests to acquire huge amounts of tickets in a single transaction, putting legitimate customers out of luck. Another method includes using the “update cart” function, in which bots purchase undesirable tickets for one event then quickly alter the selection to highly coveted tickets for another event, avoiding waiting rooms while still obtaining the desired tickets.
Bot Disruption Avoidance
A proactive approach is required to defend online sales against bot assaults. Prior to a significant event, it is critical to build a detailed strategy and put in place techniques for efficiently detecting and deterring bots. Accounts should be identified and verified, and suspicious trends, such as many accounts established shortly before the transaction, should be investigated. Monitoring email addresses and examining traffic sources can also assist identify suspected bot activity. Retailers may acquire insights into transactional intent and identify actual human buyers from bots by employing data science and machine learning.
We know that bots will continue to be a problem for online purchases, especially during high-demand events. Taylor Swift’s latest ticket sale debacle serves as a sharp warning of the implications of ineffective bot protection methods. Retailers, on the other hand, can benefit from Ticketmaster’s agility, as they modified their ticket sales strategy for Beyonce’s impending tour in order to avoid bot-related interruptions.
Ticket bots are a serious impediment to fair ticket allocation, generating aggravation for legitimate fans while allowing scalpers to benefit unfairly.
Understanding how these bots work and taking preventative actions are critical for avoiding interruptions during high-demand sales. Retailers may improve their defenses against bot assaults by staying ahead of the game and utilizing new technology, resulting in a speedier ticket-purchasing procedure for fans. So, you better watch out for next concerts!