Online ticket scams

Scammers often target people who are looking for tickets for a concert, show, sporting event or music festival, especially when tickets are in high demand. They might sell you fake tickets that you won’t be allowed to use at the event or sometimes they simply take your money and don’t provide you with anything at all.

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself when buying tickets online and to help you figure out if the seller is genuine.

Buy from an official source

Check with the organiser, promoter or venue when and where you can buy tickets. Often tickets are only sold through official channels, especially for very big events. Check where the company’s office is and if they have a physical address and landline number, not a PO box or a mobile number. Read reviews of the website to see if other people have had a bad experience with them. Read the terms and conditions, and before you hand over any money, make sure the payment page on the website has the padlock symbol and the address bar begins with ‘https’ – these are signs that it is secure.

 Check the rules for reselling a ticket

Check the official ticketing site for the event you are going to and see if people are allowed to resell tickets. If they are not you may be refused entry even if you have bought a legitimate ticket. For example, tickets for some music festivals are for named individuals only and can’t be resold. Some websites offer a genuine forum for reselling tickets for events, but be aware, it may cost you much more than the face value of the ticket to buy on these sites. Be very wary about buying tickets on social media or through classified ads.

Check out the payment options

When buying tickets online only use sites that have a secure payment section. Make sure the web address starts with ‘https’ rather than http – the S stands for secure – and look for the padlock symbol at the start of the web address.

If you are paying a large sum of money for tickets use your debit or credit card as you may be able to request a chargeback if things go wrong. Never pay for a ticket by direct money transfer as you will not be able to recall or trace this payment if you run into problems.

Private or secondary seller

Even if you are happy that the person selling the ticket is legitimate and the ticket is real you can still run into problems.

  • As you are buying the ticket from another individual and not a business you don’t have rights under consumer law.
  • If the event is cancelled or postponed you may have trouble getting a refund, for example if the original buyer used their credit card to buy the tickets the refund will go to their card.
  • It could be difficult to get a refund if the tickets you bought were not what you ordered, for example the tickets you receive are for a ‘restricted view’ section but this was not made clear when you bought them.
top tip
Just because a website ends in ‘ie’ doesn’t mean it is based in Ireland and if it is based outside Ireland or the EU it can be more difficult to get a solution if things go wrong. In most cases the postal address of the seller will tell you where they are based.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam or fraud and have given someone your bank or card details contact your bank or card provider immediately so they can advise you and if necessary put a hold on your account, cancel your cards or cheques or carry out additional security when issuing payments and transfers from your account. You should also contact your local Garda station.

You can contact us and tell us about any scams you, your family or friends have experienced as building awareness about scams is one of the best ways to prevent them. If you were scammed somewhere else in Europe contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland.


Last updated on 5 July 2019