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Avoiding Event Ticketing Fraud.

Andy Robertson

The incidence of credit card fraud has increased by as much as 35% in 2020 with fraud valued in excess of $10 billion a year. The coronavirus pandemic has seen a mass move to online shopping and payments and fraudsters are taking advantage of this trend. How can an event organiser ensure their ticket sales process is protected from fraud in 2021. 


Stolen credit card and other financial data is usually obtained by criminals on the dark web where credit card details can be purchased for as little as $5. Criminal gangs then use these to purchase event tickets and resell them to unsuspecting ticket buyers. Whilst financial institutions and payment gateways are constantly improving their security the criminal gangs will always find ways around new security systems.

The majority of event organisers use well-known event ticketing companies like Ticketmaster, their own bank's merchant accounts or an independent payment gateway. The potential cost to organisers from fraud can be substantial so it's very important to fully understand what would happen if fraudsters buy event tickets. Each payment company will have a policy on chargebacks or disputes and these terms vary between each supplier. In the unfortunate situation of a ticket purchase using a stolen credit card the event organiser will not recover the payment and the end user who purchased the genuine ticket will be paying the fraudster not the event company. It's likely that in most instances event organisers should admit the ticket holder to the event too. 

Some simple steps to take when processing payments is to monitor the payment processing company’s alerts and risk assessment of each payment. Stripe for example provides an alert scale of potential risk on every payment so check the payment processing organisation is providing up to date alert data. Pay particular attention to chargeback fraud where the ticket buyer claims they never received the ticket details and they then cancel the payment but have in reality received the tickets. This is less of an issue with most event tickets being generated electronically with QR codes. As a minimum a ticketing payments company should offer the following:    

  • PCI-compliance
  • A comprehensive privacy policy that does not on sell details to third parties
  • A secure system that doesn’t store credit card details
  • Secure encryption and management procedures
  • Full-time staff that handle fraud prevention and security 

Event organisers can actively protect themselves from chargebacks and disputes by providing a refund policy so customers know how to request a refund instead of filing a chargeback. In addition, it’s worth having an internal systm for making purchased tickets available for resale so that no third parties can resell the event tickets. This cuts out any potential third-party fraud and eliminates ticket touts too. 

For any live event organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the ticketing functionality they need to plan every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Andy Robertson
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