Australians desperate for Taylor Swift tickets have lost over $135,000 to scammers taking advantage of the huge demand for the pop star’s sold-out shows. The Federal consumer watchdog is warning others not to fall for the same tricks.
Swift dominated local headlines last year when a record number of people attempted to purchase tickets to the Sydney and Melbourne stops of The Eras Tour. Many die-hard fans walked away from the virtual queue empty-handed despite waiting for hours.
As Swift’s seven sold-out Australian shows approach, scammers are cashing in. 273 reports have already been made to Scamwatch since tickets went on sale. Victorians have lost a combined $53,607, while reported figures from New South Wales total $54,645.
According to the National Anti-Scam Centre, the Taylor Swift ticket scam involves scammers gaining access to people’s social media profiles to advertise fake tickets. Because they’re using real people’s social media accounts, it looks like a legitimate offer from someone you know. Catriona Lowe, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Deputy Chair, labelled the practice a “low act”.
“The Eras Tour is the hottest ticket in town this summer and scammers are seizing the opportunity to dupe Australian Swifties looking to buy resale tickets,” Lowe said. “This scam is a low act, seeking to take advantage of fans, many of whom are young and are desperately trying to secure a ticket to make their dream of seeing Taylor Swift live come true.”
Looking for Taylor Swift tickets? Avoid these scams
In some examples provided by the National Anti-Scam Centre, these recent scams follow a specific formula. Via a social media post, comment or direct message, scammers offer tickets to one of Taylor Swift’s shows, including additional details to make the offer seem genuine. Adding an extra layer of deception is the fact that scammers are taking over real social media accounts.
There are a few telltale signs to help you identify fraudulent ticket sales. Scammers may include a made-up story about why they’re selling the tickets, while adding a sense of urgency to the offer. Some might also try to rush you into making a quick transaction before you can think things through. You may also be asked to pay an additional fee – scammers claim this is related to changing the name on the ticket.
From the reported scams, victims sent money anticipating Taylor Swift tickets, only to receive nothing in return. Afterwards, they realised the social media account they’d interacted with was hacked and had no recourse. With the Australian concert dates drawing nearer, ticket scams are tipped to rise.
“We are urging fans to be alert to scammers and think twice before seeking to buy a ticket on social media, even if it’s from a friend or community page you trust,” Lowe said. “Be mindful that scammers have been hacking genuine accounts to appear legitimate and are tricking trusting friends or connections into buying Taylor Swift tickets that don’t exist.”
How to respond to scams
Your first port of call for any ticket purchases should be the official seller. Ticketek handles everything related to The Eras Tour in Australia. For any resales, you can visit the Ticketek Marketplace, a secure website for selling unused tickets. The platform also prevents anyone from selling tickets above face value.
If you see a scam in the wild, stop and think before acting. After taking your time assessing whether the offer is real, try to contact the seller via another platform. If it’s someone you know, try contacting their phone number or catching up in person.
Although you should avoid accepting tickets via social media, never hand over your credit card details if you decide to proceed. Use a secure payment platform like PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay instead. The fewer details you provide, the better.
In the unfortunate event that a scam tricks you, contact your bank immediately. Depending on the details shared, you may need to lock your credit card. You can also report your experience to Scamwatch to help others avoid a similar fate.