In April 2017 a ticket fraud campaign was launched by the City of London Police and Action Fraud in partnership with Get Safe Online and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of this fraud type and to show the need for people to change their approach when buying event tickets online. The aim was to stop people from rushing to buy tickets from unknown and potentially fraudulent secondary ticket sites and instead encourage them to buy tickets from official vendors.

To help encourage this behavioural change, the campaign took an interactive approach. A ticket website called ‘Surfed Arts’ (an anagram of fraudsters) was set-up; Surfed Arts purported to be a secondary ticket provider and Facebook adverts were used to target people living in specific areas where there were sold-out music events happening in summer 2017. Adverts were targeted at fans of Adele in London, Ed Sheeran in Manchester, Iron Maiden in Birmingham, Coldplay in Cardiff and Bruno Mars in Leeds.

Those who clicked through from the Facebook advert to the Surfed Arts website were immediately told that they were not able to purchase the sold out event tickets and were advised on how to protect themselves from falling victim to real ticket fraudsters in the future. The purpose of this activity was to try and directly affect consumers’ online behaviour and make them think twice before buying tickets from illegitimate secondary ticket sites. The campaign received extensive national, local and trade media coverage and reached over 2 million people. There was also strong social media coverage with a total of 7,766 engagements.

Read the press release