A Devon family have said they are devastated and heavily out of pocket after falling victim to a Champions League ticket scam. Nathan Richards, 33, and 11-year-old son Harley were desperate to watch Liverpool take on Real Madrid on Saturday.
Harley, who struggles with autism and Tourettes syndrome, became a rabid Liverpool fan after visiting home stadium Anfield earlier this season. Dad Nathan told the Liverpool Echo that he saw a Twitter account offering tickets for £1,000 each.
He spoke to the contact who promised the tickets. He coughed up the cash, having spoken to other people who claimed to have bought tickets off the mystery seller.
Read: ‘Takeaway couriers’ caught drug-driving in Torquay
He said: “I knew it was taking a chance but having spoken to people who had got tickets from them, I hoped it would be ok.”
He sent over £2,000 to the ticket seller and booked accommodation and travel for the trip. Nathan and Harley were dreaming of seeing their heroes in the French capital. But one day a friend of Nathan told him about some concerning messages on social media.
Nathan said: “He told me about loads of tweets from people who hadn’t received their tickets from this same account. When I checked, the Twitter account had been taken down and I had been blocked on WhatsApp by the number I had been speaking with. My heart sank. I felt sick.”
No tickets ever arrived and Nathan had to explain to his son, who has been the victim of bullying, that their Paris dream was over. He said: “He was really upset, he didn’t really understand what had happened. I am gutted because he has had problems at school and I really wanted to show him that us Reds are a big family.”
Nathan says he has lost around £2,800 in total from the ticket scam and cancelled transport and holiday bookings. He works as a carer and said the situation had left him financially and mentally damaged.
He added: “It’s sickening, I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else. The only positive is I’ve met a group of Reds in a WhatsApp group who have also been victims of the scam and we’ve made some good connections.”
Sadly Nathan and Harley are not the only LFC fans to have fallen victims to Champions League final ticket scams. Yesterday the ECHO reported that Wirral Red Ray McDonald and his friends, who had bought 19 tickets from an online tout at £1,000 each, found out they were fakes.
Another Liverpool fan contacted the ECHO after also falling victim to the ticket scam. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he has seen other people buy legitimate tickets from the tout in the past and decided to buy two tickets to the final for him and a friend at a total cost of £2,500. He said he ‘felt sick’ when realising the tickets he received were fakes.
Liverpool FC and Merseyside Police have issued warnings to fans this week to keep their eyes out for touted tickets to make sure they aren’t caught out by scammers. It comes after the club were given an allocation of 19,618 tickets for the final, which were allocated in a ballot.
Merseyside Police raided a home in Cheshire yesterday (Wednesday, May 25) after receiving reports of fake Champions League football tickets being sold. It’s not yet known whether the warrant, carried out at a house in Winsford. When officers got to the home several suspected fake FA Cup Final tickets were also found along with a computer and phone. The items were seized by police and enquiries remain ongoing. A 37 year-old man will voluntarily attend for questioning on offences under the Fraud Act at a later date.
In an official statement this week, Liverpool FC said: “Liverpool Football Club has called on social media companies to close more than 50 social media accounts and groups it believes are actively involved in selling, or offering to sell, Champions League final tickets online.
“The club has also identified 13 supporters who have offered their tickets for Saturday’s game against Real Madrid for sale online. Those fans have had their tickets cancelled, while their accounts are in the process of being investigated further, with the possibility of added sanctions to follow.
“There has unfortunately been an increase in the number of fans being defrauded, online in particular, by fake match ticket offers. If any supporter is offered a ticket online, they should report it to LFC here – and to Action Fraud. Liverpool FC will not stand idly by and watch people try to sell tickets they have been fortunate enough to get access to via the ballot. All reports of ticket touting, or online ticket fraud, will be investigated in line with the LFC sanctions process.
“If a supporter has been found to have offered a ticket for sale online, this could result in a lifetime ban for that individual. The club is also encouraging supporters to be diligent when providing any personal or payment details to persons they do not know. Liverpool FC continues to work closely with Merseyside Police and, where possible, will pass on the details of any supporters who have offered a ticket for sale online.”
If you believe you may have been a victim of fraud online, report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk, or call 0300 123 2040.