How to tell when a website selling concert tickets is a scam

I was watching Watchdog again last night (I really should stop that) and I saw a report on scam websites that were selling, or pretending to sell, tickets for concerts and festivals (including Michael Jackson tickets for his O2 concerts).

This sort of thing is really dodgy, causes a great deal of hurt for people who buy the tickets, and sadly even easier to guard against.

For example, one website outed on Watchdog was this website claiming to sell Cliff Richard tickets.

cliff richard

As you can see the website looks genuine, it has a gallery and offers tickets for dates on Cliff’s tour. However, the website is a scam. How can you tell?

Well firstly there is no contact phone number or address on the website. If there are no contact details, NEVER buy anything from the website.

Secondly, any website hosted in the USA or UK is likely to genuine. There aren’t many hosts in the UK, and they’re all traceable, so if you know a site is hosted in the UK you can be fairly certain it’s genuine. When a website is hosted in Eastern Europe or Russia though, you should be more guarded.

This website is hosted in Slovakia, as the Netcraft toolbar will tell you. If you don’t have the Netcraft toolbar, download it now.

The toolbar shows a flag from the country where the website is hosted, as you can see from the graphic below.


The toolbar also tells you a website’s age, and this site is just 3 months old – another telltale sign that this site is a con.

Just be careful where you enter your credit card details, any site selling tickets for concerts will have a UK address, a phone number and will most likely be hosted in the UK or USA.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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