Ticketek will establish pop-ups at Taylor Swift’s Australian concert venues to help field thousands of queries related to ticket scams and fraud, days before the superstar is due to perform.
The move comes amid reports some customers had their Ticketek accounts hacked and their tickets listed secondhand and resold. In a statement, a Ticketek spokesperson said it was “aware of [unauthorised] access to individual accounts” via “information that has been obtained from other sources”.
Multiple outlets have reported instances of people’s Ticketek accounts being hacked. Guardian Australia understands the hackers deployed “credential stuffing”: guessing user passwords using data from other hacks shared on the dark web.
Ticketek teams are dealing with “thousands of queries” relating to fraudulent tickets or other scams, and working “around the clock”, the spokesperson said. It recommends users change or update their passwords regularly to “safeguard their interests”.
“If customers believe … the resale of their tickets was fraudulent, customers should immediately file a police report and contact Ticketek customer service so we can commence an investigation,” the spokesperson said.
If original ticket holders can prove they purchased the tickets, their information was legitimately compromised and the sale was fraudulent, the tickets “should revert to the original purchaser,” Ticketek said.
Warnings of ticket scams and fraudulent resales have been rife since Swift first announced the Australian leg of her Eras tour in June. The tour broke records when more than 4 million people tried to secure at least one of the 450,000 tickets on offer across five shows, taking place in Melbourne on 16 and 17 February, and Sydney on 23-25 February 2024.
Gold Coast “Swiftie” Rachael Hughes, who is travelling to Melbourne with her nine-year-old niece to watch Taylor Swift perform, told the ABC her tickets were sold from “within her own account”.
Hughes received an email saying her tickets had been sold, so checked the Ticketek website and noticed “they were just gone … they were sold”. After six days of trying to contact Ticketek “with no luck” she spoke with someone on the phone, who said her account would be frozen and the tickets transferred to a new account.
“The blanket rule is that the first buyer is the only buyer and they’ll be kicking people out of their seats,” Hughes said.
Ticketek will set up customer service pop-ups at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Accor Stadium in Sydney from the Wednesday before each show.
The spokesperson said its technology security team had already shut down a scam website that falsely claimed to be Ticketek’s Marketplace – the official resale platform.
“The Ticketek team are constantly monitoring web and social channels to detect and remove any such sites,” the spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, these are indicative of the length unscrupulous fraudsters will go to capitalise on the Taylor phenomenon.
“We will continue to dedicate significant responses to ensure that real fans are protected.”
Earlier this month, Victoria police issued a warning for customers to be wary of a social media ticket scam that had already resulted in Victorians losing $260,000.
Scammers were hacking accounts and targeting the hacked profile’s friend list, police said, deceiving desperate fans into a hurried purchase which appeared to be from someone they trust.
There had been more than 40 reports of the social media takeover scam between 30 January and 7 February alone.
On Tuesday, National Australia Bank (NAB) said its customers had abandoned $285,000 in payments linked to potential ticket scams in the last three months.
Between mid-June last year, when the Australian leg of the tour was announced, and Monday, there have been 406 reports of scams to Scamwatch, with total losses equalling around $183,000.
Scams can be reported via Scamwatch or by filing an online report to police.
Meanwhile, Frontier Touring announced a limited number of tickets would be released for sale on Tuesday, including restricted view tickets priced at $65.90.
These were to go on sale online at 2pm AEDT on Tuesday for all Melbourne concerts, and 4pm for all Sydney concerts, until allocations were exhausted.
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