Stay Wary: Taylor Swift ticket scam

An international student in Cardiff was scammed for £120 by fraud information about Taylor Swift’s concert on Twitter.

Pictures from Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

When Barry Miao first spotted the offer for Taylor Swift tickets, he thought it was too good to be true. They are changing hands for £120 but this post offered him the chance to get hold of tickets for her Cardiff performance for a fraction of the price.

For Barry, now 24 years old. He was deeply drawn to Taylor’s music at the age of 18. After coming to study in Cardiff, obtaining a ticket to Taylor’s concert became his dream. He would refresh secondary ticketing websites almost every day to monitor changes in ticket prices, eagerly awaiting the best opportunity to make his purchase.

“Because the price was so low, we had our suspicions from the start, but we couldn’t resist the temptation to take a chance – what if it was actually real?” Barry said.

Taylor Swift is set to hold a concert in Cardiff on June 18. As international students facing such a scam for the first time, Barry and his friends chose to transfer the money despite the high likelihood of it being a trap.

Barry in his room talking about his experience.

Barry is not alone for this issue.

According to the Guardian, there have been more than 40 reports of the social media takeover scam since 30 January this year alone in Australia.

Meanwhile, according to interviews conducted by BBC News with five banks, reports of music ticket scams received during the summer of 2023 have increased, more than doubling compared to 2022.

It is also notable that the majority of cases occurred on Facebook and Twitter.

The first post they saw in Twitter.

The fraudster employed various tactics to enhance the credibility of the scheme during the scam, Barry also mentioned.

Firstly, the fraudster utilized highly realistic application to mimic Ticketmaster’s ticket transfer process and provided screen recording of it.

Secondly, Barry’s friend used their account to privately message the scammer, and the response received was, “Sorry I sold the ticket to someone else.”

Furthermore, Barry also attempted to conduct transactions in a more secure manner by requesting face-to-face meetings and suggesting alternative payment methods besides bank transfers, but all his efforts were met with refusal.

During the actual transfer, the scammer proposed transferring £60 first, promising to send the ticket to Barry, and then another £60 would authenticate the ticket transfer request.

However, after transferring the full £120, the scammer ceased all communication, and the next morning, Barry discovered that his account had been blocked.

The scammer provided fake application of Ticketmaster and sent a screen recording.

The temptation to try was attractive since the prices were much higher than £120 on reputable secondary ticketing platform.

As a devoted fan of Taylor, Barry jokingly said, “If the tickets are real, I’d consider my year of studying abroad worth all the hardships. But if they turn out to be fake, the rainy days in the UK will make me even sadder.”

This news also serves as a reminder to all international students: while residents in the UK might easily recognize such scams, for students who are new to a foreign country, caution is paramount.

Let’s avoid more cases of disappearing £120.

“The vast majority of these scams start on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that simply don’t exist,” said Liz Ziegler, Lloyds Bank’s retail fraud and financial crime director.

Scammers typically demand payment via bank transfer, a method that lacks consumer protection, making it difficult if one has been defrauded.

Therefore, there are some suggestions from consumer group Which? before the payment on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Check when the individual profile was established and how many followers they have.
  2. Conduct a reverse image search on their profile picture and any ticket images to ensure they are not taken from the internet.
  3. Avoid offers that seem too good to be true.
  4. Do not make hasty decisions under pressure, especially when it involves a significant amount of money.
  5. Always purchase tickets from official retailers.

If the payment has already completed, there are some websites might help you reclaim the money, Which?, National Trading Guards, and asking the police for help is useful as well.