Football fans desperate to go to Euro 2016 are being warned they face a greater risk of being ripped off on social media sites after they accounted for half of all ticket scams.
Last year Brits were fleeced of more than £5 million by online fraudsters cashing in on loyal sports and music buffs – up from £3.35 million the previous year.
Figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) show worthless tickets from sold out matches and concerts have now started to appear on sites like Facebook , Twitter and
The average amount fans lost on dodgy tickets was £444 with a quarter of scams involving major sports events while festivals and concerts made up 15% of online fraud.
More than a fifth of fans were duped on Facebook, a similar number fell foul of cons on Gumtree and one in ten were victims of a sting on Twitter.
Just a week ago one Liverpool fan was tricked into paying £700 on Instagram for a fake Europa League final ticket to watch his team in the clash with Sevilla in Basel, Switzerland.
And in August, bogus One Direction tickets with a face value of £65 for a concert at the O2, were doing the rounds on Twitter for £200 each.
More than 200 music fans complained to Action Fraud last year after falling victim to an online ticket scam for Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and AC/DC gigs.
The LGA – which represents 373 local councils in England and Wales – is calling on social media sites to crackdown on crooks who prey on fans’ devotion to their team or pop idols.
And it is urging avid fans to steer clear of those selling tickets online to events that have sold out and only use official sites, especially for tickets that are being resold.
According to trading standards officers, football’s showcase Euro 2016 tournament in France next month is a prime target for fake tickets, along with Wimbledon, Glastonbury and Wembley concerts with Beyonce, Rihanna and Coldplay headlining.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “This summer is ripe for criminals to exploit desperate fans willing to do anything to get a ticket to see England play or see their favourite band.
“Fans are often prepared to pay vastly inflated prices for tickets and might be tempted to resort to unofficial websites. But they risk losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist.
“Social media sites now account for nearly half of all ticket scams and they need to do more to help prevent people being conned paying for tickets on their sites.”
And Mike Andrews, lead co-ordinator for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team added: “As summer music festival line-ups are announced, and the squads for Euro 2016 are being confirmed, we expect criminals to exploit fans’ excitement by flogging fake tickets on forums, sham websites and social media.
“Criminals selling fake tickets online are becoming more and more prevalent – to avoid disappointment we urge fans to be on guard when purchasing sports and music tickets.”