Music and sports fans are at risk of a huge increase in online ticket fraud, council leaders have warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) says more than £5m was lost to online ticket fraud in the UK in 2015 – up from £3.35m in 2014 – with social media sites now accounting for nearly half of all reported ticket scams.
On average, customers who bought fake tickets lost £444 per transaction.
With some events already sold-out or expected to sell-out, the LGA is reminding people to buy tickets through official channels and not to risk losing money by using other websites, agencies or social media sites.
More than a quarter of fake tickets sold online in 2015 were for big sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and Premier League football matches.
Bogus tickets to gigs and festivals accounted for 15%. More than a fifth of ticket fraud was instigated via Facebook, with Gumtree accounting for 22% and Twitter 6%.
Recent ticket fraud cases include a man facing a jail sentence for selling non-existent concert tickets online for One Direction, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Take That, with one victim fleeced out of £825, while a Liverpool FC fan was conned out of £700 this month by scammers selling fake Europa League final tickets on Instagram.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: 'People should be very wary of ticket offers for "sold out" events as these situations are exploited by criminals.
'Similarly, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s likely to be a scam.
'Fans should only buy tickets from official sites and when buying resold tickets ensure that they are buying from vendors who have been approved by the event organiser.'