Elaborate Taylor Swift ticket hack primed to cause stadium chaos and heartbreak

Elaborate Taylor Swift ticket hack primed to cause stadium chaos and heartbreak

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Swifties were sent into delirium when Taylor Swift announced her Eras Tour and, hidden in the cyber shadows, scammers with big plans also wrung their hands with glee.

Ticketek is now bracing for potential ticket chaos at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Accor Stadium as intricate scams hatched by hackers months in advance are fully realised, starting Friday night with the first of three sold-out shows at Melbourne, and then four massive gigs in Sydney.

As the Australian leg of Eras draws near, more and more stories are emerging of horrified fans discovering the rare as hen’s teeth tickets they snared have mysteriously vanished from their Ticketek accounts, whisked away and resold by ruthless hackers.

READ MORE: How Deb Knight got scammed with fake Taylor Swift tickets

Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of The Eras Tour.

Ticketek confirmed to 9News today that they are aware cyber criminals have broken into an unknown number of Ticketek accounts and resold tickets to unwitting people on Ticketek’s Marketplace, the only official platform to resell tickets.

A Ticketek spokesperson said staff were working around the clock” trying to resolve “thousands” of queries relating to fraudulent tickets or other scams, and the ticketing giant is encouraging fans to file reports with police if they can prove they are a victim.

“If customers believe that they’ve had stolen or misappropriated property, and the resale of their tickets was fraudulent, customers should immediately file a police report and contact Ticketek customer service so we can commence an investigation.”

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For some Swifties, the scam will hit like a ticking time bomb.

Unless they check their accounts before the concert date, some fans may not even realise their supposedly secure tickets have been stolen and sold.

Only when they arrive at the stadium and go to swipe through an entry gate will it become agonisingly clear that their accounts have been hacked.

In preparation for that eventuality, Ticketek told 9News it is committing “significant resources” to support fans by opening special customer service pop ups outside the MCG and Accor Stadium in Sydney, from the Wednesday prior to each show.

Ticketek did not respond to questions from 9News asking what would happen if a Swiftie arrived at the stadium, found their ticket is hacked, and that the new buyer of that ticket is already inside the stadium, sitting at the original purchaser’s seat.

There has been unconfirmed speculation the original buyer would be given the seat, and the secondary buyer ejected, if they can prove they originally purchased the tickets; their information has been legitimately compromised; and the sale was fraudulent.

The selling of hacked Taylor Swift tickets on Marketplace essentially hangs a major and worrisome cloud over every Eras ticket bought and sold on the official resale platform.

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It also conjures up potential scenes of despair, confusion and anger at the two biggest stadiums in the country, should two innocent parties start making claims on one seat.

READ MORE: Everything Australians need to know ahead of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

Immediately after tickets went on sale in June, sparking pandemonium and ending with joy and disappointment around the country, scammers sprung into action.

Initial crude attempts involved the advertising and selling of fake tickets on various social media platforms, especially Facebook, where they baited their hooks and took advantage of Taylor mania and a sometimes young and naïve fanbase or parents trying to make their child’s dream come true.

But the tricks scammers have deployed to siphon away money have evolved.

With all seven shows sold out, scammers began to take control of Facebook accounts and publish posts that would seen by that unknowing person’s friend group, saying they had Taylor Swift tickets to sell.

Has your Taylor Swift ticket disappeared? Email [email protected]

Coming from a supposed trusted friend, victims were reeled in and fake tickets sold, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. The scammer would then disappear.

But the hacking of Ticketek accounts and the brazen selling of stolen tickets on Marketplace goes even further.

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Ticketek said it was “aware of unauthorised access to individual accounts” via information that has been “obtained from other sources”.

READ MORE: Desperate Swifties scammed on Facebook as Aussie tour edges closer

Fans attend the Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert, in Buenos Aires

“As good online practice, we recommend that account holders are changing or updating their passwords frequently to safeguarded their interests,” a spokesperson said.

In late January, the ACCC said Australians had lost over $135,000 to Taylor Swift ticket scams, and calculated that figure would “likely to continue to rise”.

Deputy chair Catriona Lowe called the Eras Tour “the hottest ticket in town this summer” and warned scammers were seizing the opportunity to dupe Swifties.

The ACCC believed scam activity was “only going to increase” in the lead-up to Swift’s arrival in Australia.

But even the ACCC appears to have been unprepared for the Marketplace scam.

Speaking just three weeks ago, the consumer watchdog was warning “the safest way to get legitimate tickets” to the Eras Tour was by purchasing tickets from Marketplace.

Has your Taylor Swift ticket disappeared? Email [email protected]

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