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Don’t get scammed this summer

A festival crowdBy Emma Lunn

If you’re planning to go to a music festival this summer or are just hoping to head off for a break in warmer climes, beware of fraudsters who prey on those looking to have fun.

Music festivals

Every year music lovers are targeted by official looking websites selling tickets to music festivals including Reading, Leeds and the V Festival. However, in many cases the tickets on sale don’t actually exist and fans hand over r cash to get nothing in return. 

The dodgy websites either claim to be official ticket sellers or say they can get hold of tickets. The V Festival, for instance, is already sold out, but there are plenty of sites still selling tickets.  

Worryingly some dodgy sites feature high up on Google search results – so don’t assume that a sponsored link on Google means the site is genuine. It doesn’t. But also don’t assume all sites are out to get you.  

Bonafide ticket-selling website Viagogo estimates that Brits are collectively conned out of £30 million a year by ticket scams. It identifies eBay as the hot spot for scam artists to congregate and prey on potential victims.  

The research revealed that one in six ticket buyers on eBay has fallen victim to a ticket scam – tickets that either never arrived or were found to be fake - leaving them disappointed, ticketless and out of pocket.

Edward Parkinson, director of Viagogo UK, says: “Fans should not judge a site by its appearance: they must do their homework before they buy.

"Check to see whether the website has been endorsed by events or brands that you recognise. Legitimate ticket resale websites will have partnerships with leading entertainment properties.” 

Holiday accommodation

If you’re heading abroad and need somewhere to stay you might think the internet is the perfect way to find accommodation.

Generally it is and there are hundreds of websites which offer overseas accommodation. However, this can make it difficult to identify which are legitimate and which aren’t.  

In some cases bogus listings are usually passed off as genuine by copying accommodation details and pictures from bona fide holiday websites. The fake listing is then advertised on sites such as Gumtree or even genuine holiday-rental sites.  

However once you’ve paid for the accommodation the fraudster will most likely disappear leaving you out of pocket and with nowhere to stay.  

When searching for holiday accommodation, be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true – it normally is.

Make sure you do as much research as possible on anyone you’re giving money to and don’t be afraid to pull out if you suspect it’s not all above board. 

To be on the safe side, pay by credit card. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act you make a claim against your credit card company if there’s a problem with your purchase including fake holiday homes, provided the total cost is at least £100. 

Recruitment sites

If you’ve just finished university or get made redundant, your first port of call to find a job is likely to be the internet. But while there are many genuine and useful job sites out there, there are also scamsters looking to make money out of desperate job hunters. 

Dodgy recruitment websites advertise seemingly great jobs and ask for applicants to send in a CV. Next you’ll get an email or call saying you look perfect for the job: the only problem is your CV – it needs tidying up or re-writing. Luckily the site can do this for you but for a fee, of course. 

In some cases you won’t hear from the site again after handing over your cash but in the worst-case scenario they’ll use the information on your CV to steal your identity.

To keep safe, keep your CV brief. There’s no need to put your full address, date or place of birth or marital status. You can give these details to employers once you’re sure they’re genuine.