Fraud Prevention

How Enterprises Can Protect Against Ticket Scalping

January, 18, 20237 min Read

Have you ever tried to purchase tickets to a popular sporting event or concert, only to realize it has sold out in seconds? Or worse, the ticketing site has crashed due to so much traffic? This is often the result of ticket scalping, a type of internet fraud where criminals use malware to purchase event tickets and resell them at inflated prices. Ticket scalping can be difficult to detect, as the fraudsters often use stolen credit card information or other unauthorized payment methods. 

Many of these criminals aren’t even human users—but rather, are automated ticket scalping bots, which snag tickets up as soon as they go on sale, deny genuine fans the opportunity to purchase, and put the tickets up for resale for a higher price. Modern scalpers are able to acquire hundreds of tickets in a matter of seconds with the help of powerful scalper bots and automated scripts, leaving true fans with few options but to pay the marked-up prices during the checkout process. This can be big business for criminals. In fact, three men plead guilty to making almost $25 million by using bots to purchase and resell tickets in 2010. This is an example of why ticket buying bots are now prohibited in 13 U.S. states.

Online scalping has a significant impact on the entertainment industry, since artists and event organizers cannot sell tickets to their full capacity, and fans are forced to pay more than they should. In this blog, we'll explore the impacts of automation on the ticketing industry, review various countermeasures taken by ticket platforms, and explain how behavioral data acquisition can be used to stop bots from negatively impacting the entertainment industry. 

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Automated Ticketing = Automated Fraud  

The ticketing industry has experienced a significant shift in the past few years due to the rise of automation, which has enabled fraudsters to quickly and efficiently purchase tickets in bulk and scalp them for higher prices. The automation of fraud attacks has put a strain on the ticketing industry, as it has caused ticket prices to increase drastically and has made it difficult for regular customers to buy tickets at face value. 

Automation has also caused a decrease in the number of available tickets, as scalpers often purchase tickets in large quantities as soon as they become available. This has left customers with fewer options, as tickets are often sold out quickly and at higher prices. In addition, automated ticket scalping has led to an increase in fraudulent ticket sales, as it has made it easier for scalpers to create fake tickets that are sold to unsuspecting customers. 

These intelligent bots are more sophisticated and can bypass traditional security measures such as traditional CAPTCHAs. They are programmed to purchase tickets from online vendors using automated techniques. To prevent these bots from being successful, security measures such as two-factor authentication or API security should be deployed.

Overall, automation has had a negative impact on the ticketing industry, as it has caused prices to increase, decreased the number of available tickets, and caused an increase in fraudulent sales. While automation has made ticket scalping more efficient, it has also caused a great deal of disruption and made it more difficult for customers to buy tickets at face value.

Security Measures to Counter Ticket Scalping 

In response to the rise of scalping, many ticket platforms like Ticketmaster have implemented a range of security measures. These include:

  • blocking IP addresses
  • using CAPTCHA to verify humans
  • issuing unique barcodes for each ticket 
  • limiting ticket purchases to verified customers 
  • creating  a fan-to-fan transfer system for tickets
  • introducing dynamic pricing to discourage scalping 
  • implementing a waiting room system for ticket sales 
  • using ticket limits to prevent a single user from purchasing lots of tickets

However, these measures have been largely unsuccessful, since scalpers have become adept at bypassing them. 

It’s clear that this type of fraud has a negative effect on the entertainment industry, artists, and fans. As the industry continues to grow, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that tickets remain accessible and affordable for fans. 

By implementing the right measures, such as Arkose MatchKey challenges, the industry can make it more difficult for scalpers to profit off of fake tickets, and make it easier for fans to get the seats they want at a fair price. 

The Need for Behavioral Data Acquisition 

In order to effectively counter ticket scalping, ticketing platforms need to acquire more data about the behaviors of their users. By analyzing the purchase history of buyers and the type of tickets they are buying, ticket platforms can identify scalpers and block their purchases. Additionally, by tracking the behavior of customers, ticket platforms can detect suspicious purchases, such as many tickets being purchased with the same credit card, and take action to prevent scalpers from purchasing tickets. 

Behavioral data acquisition also serves to protect customers from being scammed by illegitimate ticketing websites. By tracking the online behavior of users, ticketing platforms can detect anomalies in customer purchasing patterns and take proactive steps to protect customers from fraudulent activity. This data can help ticketing platforms better understand their customer base, allowing them to provide better service and support to their customers.

Arkose Labs Mitigates Ticket Scalping 

Arkose Labs, the leader in bot mitigation, is uniquely positioned to help businesses detect scalper bots and ticket scalping fraud. By deploying client-side JavaScript that collects data about the browser and device, our proprietary technology is able to detect the subtle signs of fraud that most other detection tools miss. The data is then evaluated on the server side to differentiate good traffic from bad, allowing businesses to proactively deter scalper bot attacks and ticket scalping fraud. 

Unlike other approaches, Arkose Labs’ platform does not block any incoming users. Instead, it assesses real-time risk and presents Arkose MatchKey, an adaptive step-up enforcement challenge. The proprietary 3D puzzles are designed to be insurmountable by bots and scripts, ensuring that attempts to clear these challenges by bots will fail instantly. If human click farms take over, the enforcement challenges become more complex and numerous, preventing persistent attackers from solving the puzzles en masse. This not only wastes the attackers' time, efforts, and resources, but also reduces their returns and makes the attack less lucrative. 

As a result, the attackers' business model is rendered unsustainable, causing the attackers to give up and move on. Genuine users are able to pass through the challenges quickly, allowing them to proceed with their digital interactions without any disruption. This approach provides businesses with long-term protection from scalper bots, while ensuring a seamless user experience for consumers using various device types. It also guarantees long-term cost savings and a far better ROI. 

Summary

Ticket scalping fraud is a type of online scam that involves the illegal resale of concert, sporting event, or other event tickets at prices significantly higher than the original face value. This type of fraud not only affects consumers, but businesses as well. 

Businesses such as Ticketmaster can protect themselves against ticket scalping fraud by implementing secure ticketing systems and monitoring ticket sales and resales. Additionally, businesses should educate their customers on the potential risks of ticket scalping and share tips on how to avoid fraud. By taking proactive steps to combat ticket scalping fraud, such as utilizing Arkose MatchKey challenges, businesses can help ensure the safety of their customers and protect their bottom line.

Find out how Arkose Labs can help your business identify and mitigate ticketing scalping and other types of online fraud. Book a demo!