Security analysts found a shocking spike in credit card information theft and fake tickets across the UAE
8 July 2019| Last updated on 8 July 2019
Reports show a 381% increase in fake event tickets cases in the UAE.
As more and more events are announced to come to the country, tickets for events headlined with high-profile names are rapidly selling out.
Cybercriminals are targeting concertgoers and sports fans in the online ticket market scene. Incidents include intercepting the users' credit card information while making a purchase from ticket websites, or deceiving people into buying fake tickets.
In June alone across the UAE, recent reports from cybersecurity firm Symantec, which runs and owns Norton Antivirus and Security, found a startling 381% increase in online fraudulent ticket cases.
The most common victims of such cases are online consumers who are desperate to get tickets for sold-out shows and events. When tickets are gone, or only the most expensive options remain, buyers turn to ticket resale websites such as Viagogo and StubHub, and other e-commerce sites.
Fraudsters hijack UAE ticket-buying platforms
Cybercriminal attacks on ticket-buying consumers spiked to over 7,000 incidents in June, compared to around 1,500 similar cases during May. Previous attacks include legitimate websites like Ticketmaster, where the platform was compromised with a series of codes that allowed criminals to capture valuable credit card information during an online transaction.
In such cases, buyers can still receive the purchased, genuine ticket, but fraudsters will have records of the card used to buy it.
According to Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat Report, over 4,000 websites have been hijacked, with purchases such as hotel bookings, flight tickets, event passes, and even food delivery transactions were captured and sold.
Recent concerts in Abu Dhabi saw dozens of attendees who had unknowingly purchased counterfeit tickets, and some had even paid eight times the real price for a sold-out show.
Rise in fake ticket websites
Another scam technique includes criminals setting up fake ticket reselling websites, which are promoted via social media along with similar advertising visuals used by legitimate websites to enhance its credibility.
Fraudsters then extract personal details like credit card numbers and the users' addresses, buyers will not receive any tickets. The websites are then closed by the operators and open up again under a new name.
Every month in the UAE, Symantec recognized and prevented an average 1,000 attempts by cybercriminals to steal consumers' payment information.
Security analysts suggest that the increase in such cases may have been influenced by the spike of flight and hotel bookings for the summer.