The ICC World Cup event has returned to India after a decade and it's now welcomed by a new set of audience. Scammers. The ongoing event is not just an opportunity for fans to celebrate cricket but also a wake-up call to learn the dangers of counterfeit and duplicate tickets.
The Rising Trend of Ticket Scamming.
Counterfeiting in the realm of tickets is an age-old problem that has only grown more sophisticated over time. The concern for e-tickets is rising as people are more inclined to purchase tickets through online platforms. Scammers exploit technology to create authentic-looking e-tickets, which can be sold online, making it increasingly difficult to detect fraud.
A staggering 529% increase in instances of scams was reported from March 2022 to February 2023 when compared to the previous year.
The Impact on Industries.
No other industry has been more affected than the entertainment industry. Scammers have been particularly focusing on concerts and live music festivals across the globe. Concerts of Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Coldplay and Calvin Harris are the usual targets. Singapore alone lost $518,000 in 2023 for concert ticket scamming.
The 2017 Fyre Festival is a fitting example of how extreme the impact can be. Attendees paid exorbitant amounts for tickets to what was marketed as a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, only to arrive at a chaotic and underprepared event. The organizers looted over $26 million in ticket sales and were later convicted of wire fraud, highlighting the criminal nature of the scams.
Santander, a UK-based Bank has stated that the number of customers who have fallen victim to ticket scams has more than doubled from 789 to 1,905 in 2023.
The sports industry has been another major target for counterfeiters because of its mass following and global appeal. With the focus on merchandise counterfeiting, the impact of illegal ticket scamming was undermined.
To understand the gravity of the situation, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil witnessed a significant ticket scam involving FIFA's own employees. The total value of the scam was estimated at around $100 million during the period. They were accused of selling tickets to unauthorized vendors at inflated prices, ultimately leading to their arrests and the confiscation of hundreds of fake tickets.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Ticket Scam
Following the footsteps of other events, a significant ticket scam has sent shockwaves throughout the Indian sports community. The authorities seized a staggering 108 counterfeit tickets for the India-Pakistan ICC World Cup match from a shop in Ahmedabad that is set to be held in the same city. The counterfeit tickets exhibited a deceptive level of detail, including three distinct colours on a single page, a feature that is not found on legitimate tickets.
The bogus tickets falsely claimed a value of Rs 2000 each, reaching an estimated value of INR 2-3 lakhs thereby not only duping cricket enthusiasts but also undermining the event's credibility and revenue.
Four individuals allegedly orchestrating this complex ticket scam were apprehended during the operation and are facing legal consequences.
How to Check if Your Ticket is Fake?
BCCI has released guidelines in order to verify the authenticity of the tickets purchased. Take a look at them:
1. Dynamic Color-Infused Paper: Genuine tickets use dynamic colour-infused paper that reacts to minor tearing or tampering. When subjected to these actions, the paper reveals a distinct pink hue, serving as an immediate indicator of tampering.
2. Tamper-Evident Void Indicator: A tamper-evident void feature is incorporated into the ticket. Any attempt to alter or tamper with the ticket becomes readily visible, further enhancing security.
3. Microscopic Security Lanes: Microscopic security lanes, invisible to the naked eye, are discreetly integrated into the ticket. They can only be observed with the aid of a magnifying glass, making it extremely difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.
4. Personalized Barcode: Each ticket has a personalised barcode, serving as a unique identifier for ticket verification. This barcode ensures that only legitimate tickets are allowed entry into the event, significantly reducing the chances of fraud.
What are The Major Ticketing Scams You Should Watch Out For?
There are several faces to ticket scamming and to avoid them in future it is better to understand the different types.
1. Duplicate Tickets.
This has become a major threat ever since QR codes have been implemented in the tickets. Scammers sell copies of the same ticket to customers and the first person to reach the event will get entrance.
2. Fake Tickets.
Scammers will sell you forged tickets online or even sell printed tickets which ultimately won’t work once you reach the event.
3. Social Media Scams
A lot of people re-sell their tickets if they are unavailable to attend the event. A lot of scammers encash this by posing as innocent sellers on social media and taking the buyer's money away.
4. Different seats.
These scams provide you seats for the event, but not the one you chose. You may pay the price for a front-row seat only to get a seat at the back.
How to Identify a Ticket Scammer?
Although it seems impossible, there are a few ways you can identify a scam before it happens.
Check the seller. Always ensure you buy tickets from the organisers or the authorised sellers. It's necessary to double-check the platform's authenticity if you are buying online.
Sales Tactics. If the seller is pressuring you to purchase the ticket or keeps lowering the price for you to buy, it is likely a scam.
Surf the news. Learn if there are any other ticketing scam incidents related to the same incident, if so stay away from any sketchy deals.
A Growing Need.
The exposure of fraudulent activities like the 2023 Cricket World Cup ticket scam serves as a stark reminder of the need for robust anti-counterfeit measures for combating ticketing scams. The repercussions of such incidents extend beyond financial losses to fans and event organizers. They can lead to a loss of trust and credibility in the industry, damaging the reputation of the sport itself. It’s a threat that must be prioritised and eradicated at the earliest to safeguard the economy and the interest of the public.
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