Online scammers making it a cruel summer for Taylor Swift fans

Taylor Swift fans who've been victim of online ticket resale scams are finding blank spaces in their bank accounts. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has advice to avoid being defrauded.

Swifties in Ottawa recently lost $12K over 3 days to scams, police say

A singer points while performing.
Ticket fraud is proving to be salt in the wound for Taylor Swift fans who weren't able to get tickets to the international superstar's few Canadian tour dates. (George Walker IV/The Associated Press)

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is advising Taylor Swift fans to beware of ticket resale scams after several Swifties in Ottawa recently found themselves with blank spaces in their bank accounts.

In August, Swift announced six live performances in Toronto in November 2024 as part of her career-spanning Eras Tour.

The approximately 300,000 tickets to the shows — Swift's only tour stops in Canada — sold out quickly and have since become a scarce commodity among fans. 

On Friday, Ottawa police said their fraud unit had received many complaints in recent weeks about fake ticket sales through Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji.

Ottawa police said residents reportedly lost over $12,000 in just three days to Taylor Swift-related frauds, with some losing "upwards of $2,000."

Resale scams aren't always easy to detect, said Jeff Horncastle, acting client and communications outreach officer with the CAFC.

Fans should be wary of resale prices they'd only see in their wildest dreams, said Horncastle, who shared tips to avoid becoming a target in an interview with CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

Tickets going for half price or lower are likely an indication of a fraudulent sale, he said.

Online fraudsters are scamming Ottawa Swifties out of tickets for the artist’s sold-out Eras Tour. Some complainants have lost more than $2,000 – with OPS reporting total losses to be more than $12,000. A spokesperson for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre shares his advice on how to steer clear of the scheme.

Scammers are more likely to pressure or threaten buyers if they don't send money quickly, Horncastle added.

"That should be your first red flag that something's wrong," he said. "Take your time."

Ticketmaster, the company responsible for the sale of all original Eras Tour tickets, offers a few methods of secured transfer. Users can pass ownership safely through their app, while tickets are secured by a barcode that refreshes to avoid being stolen or copied. 

If it's possible, Horncastle suggested fans meet the seller and exchange the tickets in person.

He recommended avoiding making transactions through Interac e-transfer, as you and your money are likely never ever getting back together.

A close-up of a paper ticket to an event.
Ticketmaster, which is selling all legitimate Eras Tour tickets, offers several ways to ensure online purchases are made safely. (Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)

Ottawa police said anyone who believes they've been scammed online should file a report or contact 211.

"A lot of these incidents rely on the courts to determine the process, including deciding what restitution is appropriate, which can often take years to resolve," said Const. Shaun Wahbeh, an investigator with the fraud unit, in the initial police release.

 "This really is a buyer-beware situation, and residents need to be smart about how they shop online." 

With files from CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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