Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to talk about holiday booking scams, but as travelling continues to be restricted, many of us are thinking about staycations and local festivals and events instead. However, if you plan to buy festival/event tickets, please be careful.
Action Fraud is warning us to take extra care when buying tickets online for festivals and events, as figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal almost £1 million has been lost to ticket fraud so far this year. However, many festivals and events scheduled to go ahead as coronavirus-related restrictions ease, have already sold out – something criminals are more than happy to take advantage of. Our advice is to only buy tickets from the venue directly, an official promoter or agent, or a reputable ticket site. Don’t be duped by offers on secondary ticketing websites or social media, as this is often where criminals advertise fake tickets for popular and sold-out events. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Reported victim stories tell of losses of £200, and £250, and even £3500 (the last one for purchase of tickets for a Rugby Tour from a company that has since been dissolved).
Also, you should avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of fraud. Offers of unbelievably good deals on tickets are often too good to be true. Check if vendors are members of STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and retailers). If they are, they have signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. Information is available at star.org.uk/buysafe.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Finally, this week, Citizens Advice says we need to work together as a society if we want to really tackle fraud.. Report any scams you see to help authorities stop the criminals responsible, and protect others. If you’ve been the victim of a scam you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or over the phone 0808 223 1133. We can give you advice and report scams or potential scams to Trading Standards. Then, talk about your experiences so that we can all take a stand against scams by talking with friends and neighbours about our experiences with scammers.
Sefton Citizens Advice debt advice service drop-in face-to –face sessions are now offering advice by video-call. The service will be available on Mondays from 10.00am-12pm. For information you should check out our “How We Can Help” page on our website www.seftoncab.org.uk.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk