Fans warned over fake tickets on major sites

The main four secondary ticket site players - Stubhub, Seatwave, Viagogo and Getmein - claim you will always buy a valid ticket through their sites.

However a new investigation has discovered increasing numbers of fake e-tickets in circulation - including from 'trusted' and 'power' sellers. So why the sharp rise in fakes?

Tell me a lie

"We've seen more counterfeits," ticketing expert Reg Walker told the BBC, "in one venue than we've seen in the preceding six years. In the majority of cases the barcode is for another event, or it's the same barcode from one ticket resold over and over again."

A trading standards official also told the BBC that the guarantees offered by the likes of secondary ticket sites were "not worth the paper they were written on." One Kings of Leon fan bought fake duplicate tickets through Getmein.

Secondary sites usually claim they can safeguard the quality of their tickets by only settling up with sellers once the concert-goer has attended the gig. But some sellers have achieved Power Seller status - and are willing to jeopardise their reputation to make a fast buck.

Fight back

All four major secondary sites claim they are now looking closely at any suspicious selling activity, and if any customer is affected, it would refund them their cash.

As we advised earlier this week, never transfer cash directly into a bank account when buying e-tickets. A secure payment site like PayPal is recommended. PayPal claims "if you pay for something and it never arrives or doesn't match the seller's description, then we'll give you your money back."

Paying by credit card offers also offers protection from fraud and non-delivery - so use it. Credit cards issuers are jointly liable for any failure to provide goods or services, though only if the cash price of a single ticket costs more than £100.

Bulk buying

There is plenty of unhappiness out there about secondary ticket players, often accused of driving up ticket prices through bulk buying. Last year Channel 4's Dispatches programme accused Viagogo staff of using multiple credit cards registered to different addresses when buying tickets in order to get around controls to limit ticket selling abuse.

"Viagogo staff," claimed Channel 4's Dispatches, "reveals that many tickets on sale on Viagogo are not coming from other fans, but allocated directly from the major live events promoters. Staff were repeatedly told that this information should not be passed on when dealing with the public."

Don't be Defrauded - Met Police advice

1. Only buy tickets from the official ticket seller(s) for the event you want to see. If you buy tickets from an unauthorised ticket seller then you risk:
• Losing your money
• Not seeing the event
• Having your credit or debit card details compromised

2. If a website is listed at the top of a search engine's rankings it doesn't mean that it is an official ticket seller for an event.

3. Research the website on the Internet using a search engine and find out if there are any adverse reports on it.

4. Pay for tickets by credit card. Under the Consumer Credit Act, your card issuer is jointly liable for the failure to provide goods or services if the cash price of a single ticket is over £100.

5. Check who has registered the website via an online 'who is' search.

Revealed: The 10 most common scams

Revealed: The 10 most common scams