Ticket fraud up – but police unit set to close
Reports of online ticket fraud is increasing across the UK – but the police unit set up to fight the problem has been earmarked for closure.
Operation Podium was founded in 2010 to focus on ticket sales for this year’s London Olympics. Now the event is over the team is to be shut down.
But crime monitoring service Action Fraud say the number of people complaining about online rip-offs for concert tickets has increased fivefold –from 600 in 2010 to 3000 this year.
Their figures also show 7000 complaints in 2011, mainly as a result of one criminal website which has since been forced to close.
It’s thought the number of reports will increase as more people become aware of Action Fraud’s existence.
Action Fraud spokesman Steve Profit tells the BBC: “Concert tickets are very popular. People are desperate to see their favourite bands and take risks on other websites.
“We need to know how many people are victims so the police can take action.”
Ticketmaster executive Chris Edmonds says the closure of Operation Podium would be a “disappointment.”
But Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing, who heads the team, says: “There is serious criminality attached to ticketing crime. I do believe we’ve got a level of expertise now, and a lot of hard work went into developing that expertise. We will share it.”