Ed Sheeran kicks off his two-night stand at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium tonight in front of a full house. One man, however, won’t be singing along. Queensland police arrested and charged a scalper who duped Sheeran fans into buying non-existent tickets to one of the concerts.
A 33-year-old man was charged with two counts of fraud after he was found to have “contacted interested concertgoers on a non-authorised online ticket platform” and offered to sell them tickets. There was one big catch: those tickets didn’t actually exist.
The victims, all women from south east Queensland and aged between 40 and 55, paid the man via bank transfer but never received the tickets.
The State Crime Command’s Financial and Cyber Crime Group made the arrest after an investigation into computer hacking and fraud, and he’s due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on April 3.
Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence asked consumers to remain vigilant and dob-in non-authorised, secondary resale sites. “This is another clear example of buyer beware,” Lawrence said. “I urge entertainment ticket buyers and all buyers of online products to keep control of their purchase. Only use the official authorised sellers and their platforms. Do not move away from those platforms to buy tickets or items, particularly if asked to. It is most likely you are being scammed.”
AEG Ogden, operator of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, has applauded the bust. Rod Pilbeam, chief operating officer of the Brisbane-based venues group, said the arrest was a timely reminder to avoid dodgy ticket touts.
“It’s a multi-million dollar industry that has attracted major criminal groups and tempted major companies to participate in the easy profits that flow from this deceit,” he commented in a statement issued after the arrest.” For Suncorp Stadium, where Sheeran’s two dates have sold more than 100,000 tickets, the authorised agent is Ticketek. “Any other sites offering tickets are bogus and probably operating fraudulently,” notes Pilbeam.
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Sheeran’s Divide tour of Australia and New Zealand blasted past one million ticket sales before it even started, a feat that demolishes Dire Straits’ record that stood for more than 30 years and sets a new benchmark for stadium shows on a single run (18). Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring is producing the ANZ trek.
The scalping sting comes as Live Performance Australia shared a new social video aimed at helping concert goers avoid getting ripped off by online scams.
The clip, a companion to the trade body’s “Safe Tix Guide” and “Consumer Guide,” can be seen here. “Cracking down on the ticket resale scammers requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach from government and industry,” says LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson.