Taylor Swift fans are being warned to take steps to check that tickets to her upcoming Eras Tour concert being re-sold on social media are legitimate, after a surge in scam reports.
Arguably the world's biggest pop star, Swift will play concerts in Melbourne and Sydney in February this year, after more than four million people attempted to buy tickets that went on sale in June.
Scamwatch say they have received 273 reports of people being scammed buying Swift tickets on social media
As the tour dates approach, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch say they have received 273 reports of people being scammed buying Swift tickets on social media, with over $135,000 lost so far.
Reports are most prevalent in New South Wales (114 reports and over $54,000 lost) and Victoria (96 reports and over $53,000 lost) – the states where she is performing.
How the scam works
Scammers are using hacked social media accounts to put up posts or send messages to friend lists that include a story about how they can no longer attend the concert and are wanting to sell their tickets at cost price.
These posts are sometimes posted in community groups or among friends and appear to be from a trusted source.
After the ticket is paid for, the contact disappears and the ticket never arrives.
ACCC deputy chair Catrina Lowe says they are working with law enforcement to combat the scam, which she is concerned will only increase in frequency as the concert draws closer.
"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 says.
"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."
Examples of the Taylor Swift ticketing scam. Image: Scamwatch.
What you should do
The ACCC and CHOICE have warned customers against purchasing tickets from re-selling websites such as Viagogo, which sometimes mark-up tickets to concerts at illegally inflated prices and have also been susceptible to scam activity.
The ACCC says if you're considering buying re-sold tickets through social media (which they advise against), you should independently contact the friend who is selling the tickets via a different channel and check it is legitimate.
They warn that scammers will often create a sense of urgency, but you should not be rushed or pressured into a quick purchase. Where possible, use platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal rather than paying by bank transfer.
If you do fall victim to a scam, they urge you to contact your bank immediately, report it to Scamwatch, alert the platform you were scammed on and warn your friends and family.
Platforms need to do more
CHOICE campaigns and policy advisor Yelena Nam says digital platforms need to do more to prevent scams and that the government should strengthen their proposed scam reforms to ensure there are new obligations on the companies.
"It's disappointing that well-resourced tech companies continue to fail to detect, prevent and respond to scams exploiting weaknesses in their platforms. The government must urgently force digital platforms to comply with strong, mandatory obligations to protect people from harm," she says.
"At a minimum, digital platforms should be required to detect and prevent user accounts from being hacked by scammers and quickly restore affected user accounts to their owners. If these companies had effective measures in place, scammers would have a much harder time targeting victims," she adds.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.