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Fans warned over World Cup scams


The OFT warned World Cup fans to be aware of internet ticket scams

The OFT warned World Cup fans to be aware of internet ticket scams

The OFT warned World Cup fans to be aware of internet ticket scams

World Cup heartache may be a familiar feeling for England fans - but this year it is internet ticket scams rather than fluffed penalties which pose the greatest threat of shattered dreams, campaigners have warned.

With a predicted 25,000 England supporters packing their bags for South Africa, the Office of Fair Trading said one in 12 ticket buyers are caught out by scams each year.

Almost half a million Britons have been duped by a bogus ticket sellers in the last year - with half losing their money, according to research from online ticket marketplace viagogo.

Two people were arrested this week on suspicion of fraud after an internet company from West Sussex sold costly World Cup packages before telling them it had gone bust.

Michele Shambrook, from advice service Consumer Direct, said: "Major events such as the World Cup and large music festivals are prime targets for ticket scammers. We encourage everyone buying tickets to events overseas to be especially vigilant and on the lookout for potential scams.

"When buying from websites that may be in a different language it can be even harder to ensure it is legitimate - so make sure you put the website's name into a search engine and see what other people are saying about it. Most search engines have a translation function which is useful if the website is not in English."

Customers of BYT UK complained to police after they handed over thousands of pounds to the Brighton-based business which then told them it had gone under.

The company offered a range of packages for the tournament, from a £1,750 budget deal to a £3,800 package to see the final, all including travel and accommodation in three-star game lodges.

Musician Dan Hipgrave, of Toploader, has joined the OFT's campaign to warn fans to be aware of scams that could leave fans miles away from home, out of pocket and with no way to get into the event.

Revellers at foreign music festivals including Benicassim in Spain, Exit in Serbia and Soundwave in Croatia, are also at risk, the OFT said.