Is It Safe To Buy Tickets on Ticketmaster?
When Megan saw tickets for sale on Craigslist for Britney Spears’ sold-out show, she was skeptical. But after meeting the seller face-to-face, and seeing a printed invoice along with the physical tickets showing the correct venue information and a barcode, Megan took a chance.
But when she got to the venue, the barcodes on her pair of $150 tickets wouldn’t scan. They were fakes [*].
Ticketmaster scams have been in the news recently as more people return to live events following the pandemic. But the scary truth is that, according to recent reports [*]:
Nearly 11 million Americans get scammed buying tickets each year — roughly 12% of all ticket buyers.
Getting scammed when buying tickets leads to more than just monetary loss — it ruins your opportunity to see one of your favorite acts, bands, or teams.
In this guide, we’ll explain how Ticketmaster scams work, the latest schemes to look out for, and how to safely buy tickets for your next big event.
What Are Ticketmaster Scams? How Do They Work?
Ticketmaster is a legitimate American ticket sales company that operates around the world, selling tickets for a wide variety of events including concerts and sports matches.
But scammers have devised ways to game the Ticketmaster and ticket-buying system in order to swindle unsuspecting event-goers. Both ticket sellers and ticket buyers are in the crosshairs.
Here are a few Ticketmaster scams you might encounter:
- Impersonation scams. Scammers set up fake websites, email addresses, and phone numbers to impersonate Ticketmaster. It’s only when you get pressured to pay for tickets or services you don’t want, or when you don’t receive your tickets (or fake ones show up) that you realize it was a look-alike scam.
- Fake ticket sales on third-party sites. Many people advertise concert tickets on third-party marketplaces like Craigslist, Stubhub, and Facebook Marketplace. While there are some legitimate sellers (and a lot of scalpers), there are also many scammers selling fake event tickets.
- Scammers steal your tickets. If you post images of your real tickets on social media or send photos of them to a potential buyer, a scammer can make forged copies and either use them or sell them to unsuspecting victims. Worse, if the pirated tickets get scanned before your authentic tickets do, you might not even be allowed inside the venue.
Example: The “Fake Support Number” Scam That Cost One Victim Thousands
Scammers often use a combination of ticket scam tactics to convince people to part with their money. In one recent report, a victim lost $2,750 while looking to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster for the U.S. Open Women’s Final.
First, scammers set up a fake Ticketmaster website and listed the tickets. But when someone tried to buy the tickets, the scammers claimed there was an issue with the payment system and asked the victim to call a 1-800 number for help.
On the phone, the victim was told to buy a Target gift card for the price of the tickets and then send the card number and access code. But even that wasn’t enough. Next, they were told via email to activate an online wallet and add at least $1,000.
It was only when the victim scrutinized the email address and realized it was spoofed that it became clear the whole thing was a scam [*].
This example has all the hallmarks of a classic scam:
- The victim was asked to pay for tickets using gift cards.
- The “confirmation” email didn’t come from the @ticketmaster.com domain.
- The scammers claimed they couldn’t refund money until the victim sent them more.
- The phone number wasn’t the official Ticketmaster number.
- The scammers built a sense of urgency by claiming the tickets were selling fast.
💡 Related: How To Tell If Someone is Scamming You Online →
The 7 Latest Ticketmaster Scams You Need To Know About
- Fake Ticketmaster support phone numbers
- Too-good-to-be-true ticket deals on social media and online marketplaces
- Fake ticket listings for sold-out events
- Look-alike Ticketmaster websites that appear in search results
- Fraudulent ticket resellers asking for personal information
- Hacked Ticketmaster accounts leading to “vanishing” tickets
- Scammers asking for pictures of tickets as “proof”
Ticketmaster scammers will try their hardest to steal your money, tickets, or personal information. Here are descriptions of these seven current Ticketmaster scams and how to avoid them:
1. Fake Ticketmaster support phone numbers
Scammers know that it’s often much easier to get you to do what they want if they can get you on the phone.
In these scams, fraudsters send phishing emails, set up fake websites, or list fraudulent Ticketmaster support phone numbers to try and get you to call. Once on the phone, they pressure you into either sending them gift cards and wire transfers or providing personal information that they can use to steal your identity.
Warning signs and what to do:
- The phone number or email address aren’t the official ones. Never call a phone number that you’ve found in an email. Instead, locate the official number by visiting the real Ticketmaster website at Ticketmaster.com. If you receive an email from a domain that isn’t @ticketmaster.com, it’s from a scammer.
- Customer support is unhelpful, aggressive, and in a hurry. Scammers often act urgently or hostile to try and push you into making rash decisions. If the “support agent” is pushing you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing, hang up and then log in to your official Ticketmaster account and contact customer support.
- The website URL isn’t ticketmaster.com. Spoofed websites (known as “pharming sites”) are often hard to distinguish from the real thing. Always double-check that you’re on an official website by reading the URL carefully.
2. Too-good-to-be-true ticket deals on social media and online marketplaces
In this scam, fraudsters try to bypass your skepticism by offering great ticket deals over social media platforms or online marketplaces. They may post photos of legitimate Ticketmaster tickets, or even meet up face-to-face and sell you fake tickets.
Warning signs and what to do:
- The ticket price is unrealistic. Scammers often list fake tickets at prices well-below face value so that desperate buyers will act quickly. If other sellers are charging a much higher rate for the same ticket, it’s likely a scam.
- The seller is posing as a Ticketmaster agent. Ticketmaster will never sell tickets on Craigslist. If someone says they’re from Ticketmaster but selling on an online marketplace, it’s a scammer trying to rip you off.
- The seller wants you to pay by wire transfer or gift card. Scammers want you to pay via methods that are hard or impossible to reverse. Often, they’ll ask you to send money via Zelle (and other payment apps) or pay them with gift cards. You should never wire funds, pay by gift cards, or give out financial information to buy tickets online.
💡 Related: Scammed on Zelle? Here’s How To Get Your Money Back →
3. Fake ticket listings for sold-out events
Listing fake ticket offers is a common scam in which fraudsters take your money and disappear.
In one recent example, scammers hacked a young girl’s Twitter account and used it to advertise tickets for a sold-out concert. They even provided video proof of the tickets on their Ticketmaster account. But when a victim sent money, the account was suspended and the tickets were never seen [*].
Warning signs and what to do:
- The seller wants you to provide payment without meeting in person. You should never send payment to someone you haven’t met, especially for an item you haven’t seen. If someone refuses to meet in person, it’s probably a scammer.
- The seller’s account is suspicious. Scammers often use new or stolen accounts. If you’ve found a seller on social media, check their online profile. If they don’t provide details in their bio, have no friends, or have a series of suspicious posts, you are likely dealing with a scammer.
💡 Related: The Worst Social Media Scams of 2023 (and How To Avoid Them) →
4. Look-alike Ticketmaster websites that appear in search results
Scammers often create look-alike websites to trick visitors into thinking they’re accessing real sites. These fake websites are designed to look visually similar to the actual Ticketmaster site.
Warning signs and what to do:
- The website URL isn’t “https://www.ticketmaster.com.” Usually, spoofed websites bear very similar names that, at a glance, won’t arouse any suspicion — for example, “www.ticketfaster.com” or “www.ticketsmarter.com.” Double-check that the URL is correct before you provide any personal information.
- The website content includes poor spelling and grammar. Lookalike scam websites often contain spelling and grammatical mistakes. If the content is written in imperfect English, it’s a sign that the site is fraudulent.
- Purchase from the venue. You’re always better off buying directly through the venue, Ticketmaster, or another reputable ticket vendor. This way, you avoid the risk of purchasing tickets from a scam artist.
5. Fraudulent ticket resellers asking for personal information
Many fraudulent ticket resellers aren’t just after your money — but your personal information as well. These fraudsters create fake websites or send phishing emails claiming that your tickets are ready — once you provide personal information.
With this information, scammers can commit identity theft and credit card fraud, allowing them to steal more money on top of the price of the tickets that you’ve already lost.
Warning signs and what to do:
- Legitimate vendors will never ask for personally identifiable information (PII). When buying tickets from a real vendor like Ticketmaster, you will have to provide your payment details – but that’s it. If the seller asks for unnecessary information like your Social Security number (SSN) or photos of your credit card, you’re dealing with a scammer.
- Fraudulent companies have bad reviews. You’re usually not the first person to come into contact with a scam company. Always check online reviews of companies (especially suspicious ones) before doing business with them. Search the company’s name on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or do an online search of their name + “scam/review/legitimate” to see what past customers have said.
In the news: A man bought tickets from “www.ticketsales.com” and was asked to send his signature along with a photo of his credit card and ID in order for the tickets to be released [*].
6. Hacked Ticketmaster accounts leading to “vanishing” tickets
If fraudsters get hold of your password and account details, they can sign in to your Ticketmaster account and transfer the tickets to their own email address.
Victims only realize something is wrong when they receive a notification saying that their tickets have been successfully transferred [*]. And since the request has come from the victim’s account, it can be hard to convince Ticketmaster to issue new tickets.
How to secure your Ticketmaster account from hackers and scammers:
- Use unique and complex passwords. If you use the same password for multiple websites and it gets leaked in a data breach, scammers could access your account. Always use unique passwords that are 12 to 15 characters long and contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Store your passwords by using a secure password manager. A password manager keeps all of your logins in a single, secure location that hackers can’t access. The password manager included in all of Aura’s plans can even warn you if you’re using a weak password or if one has been compromised in a recent data breach.
- Take a screenshot of your tickets. Screenshots of tickets are unlikely to grant you admission to an event. But you can use them as evidence that you bought the tickets when later filing a complaint with Ticketmaster.
- Store tickets in your Apple wallet. If you’re an iPhone user, you can store tickets in your phone’s wallet app. This makes it harder for scammers to access, as they would need to also hack your Apple ID to transfer out the tickets.
- File a report with Ticketmaster. Contact Ticketmaster as soon as you discover you’ve lost your tickets. They might be able to issue new tickets to you and invalidate your old tickets.
💡 Related: How to Protect Yourself From Account Takeover Fraud (ATO) →
7. Scammers asking for pictures of tickets as “proof”
Since most tickets are validated with barcodes or QR codes, it’s relatively easy for scammers to replicate a ticket and sell it. As long as the barcode is scannable, it will let the holder gain access to the event.
The worst part is that the original ticket holder won’t find out until the concertgoer tries to get into the venue and their ticket doesn’t work.
Warning signs and what to do:
- Don’t buy tickets that were advertised with photos. If you see a ticket being sold online but the barcode is visible, chances are it’s already been stolen and reproduced. Even if you receive the tickets after the sale, they might not work by the time you get to the event.
- Never post a picture of your ticket. If you’re selling a ticket (or just attending a concert), posting a picture of your ticket is a surefire way to have it stolen. Crossing out the barcode isn’t enough – scammers can use apps to replicate barcodes and QR codes from the corresponding numbers.
How To Verify That Your Tickets Are Legitimate
If you think you may have purchased fake tickets, you should try to determine if they’re real before spending time (and money) traveling to the event.
Here are some ways to help confirm whether your tickets are legitimate or not:
- You bought them directly from Ticketmaster, Live Nation, or the concert’s venue. Ticketmaster and their partner sites sell Ticketmaster “Verified Tickets.” If you bought your tickets directly from these vendors, you can be sure that they’re legitimate.
- The tickets are in your Ticketmaster account. If you purchased tickets through Ticketmaster online, they will be displayed inside your Ticketmaster account. Sign in to your account, then go to “My Events.” Click on the event to view your tickets. If they’re there, then they’re real.
- Contact Ticketmaster to verify your tickets. You can visit the venue or use Ticketmaster’s virtual assistant to check if your ticket is legitimate (and learn how to tell if it’s fake).
- The tickets come from an official Ticketmaster.com email (not a personal email). When you purchase a ticket from Ticketmaster, any correspondence will be sent through an “@ticketmaster.com” email. If it’s from a personal or non-official email address (such as Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo!), the tickets are likely a scam.
- For physical tickets, check the spelling, date, website link, and quality of the ticket. On closer inspection, real tickets will never include spelling errors. Genuine tickets are also printed on the front and back of high-quality paper stock.
Pro tip: Check the date noted on your physical tickets. Ticketmaster never uses commas within dates — but scammers often do.
Did You Get Scammed Buying Tickets? Here’s What To Do!
If you’ve been scammed or bought fake tickets from a ticket reseller, you may be able to retrieve your tickets or recover lost money — but you need to act quickly.
- Contact Ticketmaster or the resale site to request a refund or new tickets. Contact Ticketmaster if you realize that your tickets have been replicated (or if they’ve been transferred to another account). Ticketmaster may be able to issue new tickets and invalidate the previous ones.
- Try to file a chargeback with your credit card company or other payment platform. Contact your financial institution as soon as possible, and see if it’s possible to charge back any money you sent to the scammer.
- File an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Filing complaints with the FTC helps them combat scams, and also helps prevent other people from falling victim. Submit your complaint at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you gave scammers your personal information, you should also file an official identity theft report at IdentityTheft.gov.
- Contact your local law enforcement and file a police report. If you have further information about the scammer that could lead to an arrest, report it to your local law enforcement agency. Some financial institutions require police reports when resolving disputes, so filing a report can help protect your financial reputation.
- Consider signing up for credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution helps keep your identity, money, and online accounts safe from scammers. And in the worst case scenario, you’re covered by a $1,000,000 insurance policy for eligible losses resulting from identity theft.
How To Stay Safe When Buying Tickets on Ticketmaster
It’s becoming harder to tell whether tickets (and ticket sellers) are legitimate. Here are some tips to stay safe when buying tickets:
- Try to purchase tickets directly from the venue or from trusted vendors.
- Know the difference between reputable ticket vendors (like Ticketmaster), ticket scalpers, and scammers.
- Research sellers by checking their reviews and looking them up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at BBB.org.
- Keep your eye out for look-alike sites. Aura can warn you if you’re entering a dangerous, malicious, or fake website.
- Use a payment method that includes buyer protection and chargeback options, such as your credit card. Never pay for tickets using wire transfers, gift cards, or payment apps.
Whether you’re desperately searching for tickets to the next Taylor Swift concert or your favorite sports team, the worst outcome is to get scammed. Stay safe by looking for the warning signs of a fake ticket scam.
For added protection and peace of mind, consider signing up for Aura’s top-rated online security, identity theft, and credit monitoring solution.