A Bedford man has been sentenced after swindling money from music fans for non-existent concert tickets.
Amar Chander, 24, of Honeyhill Road, advertised tickets for major concerts on Gumtree, taking between £90 - £450 from a total of 18 victims. Instead of providing the tickets, which he never actually had, he used the money to fund his own gambling habit.
He was sentenced at Luton Magistrates’ Court, on Monday (Feb 26) to a 12-month community order. He must also carry out 150 hours unpaid work and complete 10 days rehabilitation activity.
When customers contacted him to chase up their purchases, he made excuses as to why the tickets weren’t available, and failed to make refunds. He approached one victim and asked him not to contact the authorities, offering to pay back the money in instalments. His victims reported him to Action Fraud, and police were called in to investigate.
Detective Constable Tracey Litchfield, investigating, said: “Chander defrauded innocent music fans out of money for tickets he did not have. His victims sensibly reported him to Action Fraud so we were able to investigate and bring him to justice.
“Crimes of this nature are unfortunately commonplace, and we strongly advise against parting with money online to strangers. When looking for tickets to see your favourite artists, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe from ticket fraud.”
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Protect yourself from ticket fraud:
> Buy tickets only from the venue box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange sites.
> Remember that paying with a credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
> Double check the details of your ticket purchase before confirming payment.
> Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that link is secure:
> There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself, this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
> The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
> The above indicate only that the link between you and the website owner is secure, and not that the site itself is authentic. You need to do this by carefully checking the address for subtle misspellings, additional words and characters and other irregularities.
> Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service. Ensure these sites are secure before you make your payment.
> Remember and safeguard the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
> Check sellers’ privacy and returns policies.
> lways properly log out of websites. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
> Keep receipts.
> Check credit card and bank statements carefully after ticket purchase to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
> Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and a firewall running before you go online.
> Do not reply to unsolicited emails from sellers you don’t recognise.