In late 2022, Taylor Swift broke the internet by announcing the Eras Tour, a nationwide jaunt that celebrates her nine-album career. “Swifties,” as Swift’s fans call themselves, were ecstatic — that is, until Ticketmaster, the sole platform selling tickets for the tour, was unable to keep up with massive demand and crashed, resulting in a federal investigation, a Swifties-backed lawsuit, and a huge scramble among fans to get their hands on tickets in any way possible.
Thousands of Swifties were unable to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster and, as a result, began looking to third-party vendors and ticket sellers on social media to snag a seat on the resale market.
The major issue? Buying concert tickets from people on Twitter and Instagram is incredibly risky. Those platforms don’t have the same type of built-in safety precautions as ticket-specific marketplaces like Stubhub and SeatGeek to ensure that tickets are legitimate and to protect fans from getting scammed.
With Twitter in particular becoming a hot spot for ticket resales and scams, Swifties have been spreading the word about how to buy legitimate tickets on non-ticketing platforms online. (Twitter does prohibit the promotion of unauthorized tickets, though there seems to be no consequence for doing it, or a way for scammed buyers to be made whole.)
While buying resale tickets on social media is a gamble, it can be cheaper than purchasing on secondary ticketing sites that charge fees. Multiple Twitter accounts have popped up with the aim of helping people find legitimate tickets. They and others have been sharing tips for how to make sure you’re purchasing real tickets on social media.
1. Make your purchase using PayPal Goods and Services.
If you find someone on social media who appears to be selling legitimate tickets, you should only send them money using PayPal’s Goods and Services feature. This ensures you are covered by PayPal’s Purchase Protection.
This payment method also keeps your financial information secure, monitors the transaction, and offers dispute resolution and fraud prevention. You’ll be eligible for a full refund if you don’t receive the tickets or if they’re illegitimate.
One popular Swifties-run Twitter account, @erastourresell, connects people selling Eras Tour tickets to fans who want to buy them. The three Swift fans behind the account also offer helpful advice about how to make sure the purchase is real.
“As soon as a scammer sees the words ‘paypal goods and services’ they run,” they tweeted.
2. Ask the seller to forward their original purchase confirmation.
If the person you’re talking to actually purchased a real ticket from Ticketmaster, they received a confirmation email. This email doesn’t include the actual tickets, but states the initial order information. According to Ticketmaster, this confirmation email “is sent to the email you supplied during your booking, up to 72 hours after purchasing your tickets.”
A confirmation email from Ticketmaster will look like this:
Someone who legitimately purchased tickets on Ticketmaster or a valid third-party vendor site like SeatGeek or Stubhub will be able to forward you this email.
However, it’s also important to note that images can easily be doctored, so make sure they send the confirmation message over email. The original sender of the confirmation email should also be a real email address, like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If the email address looks funky, you can Google it to see if anything related to the real website comes up. Otherwise, it may be fake.
3. Do some digging on their social media profile.
Should you end up chatting with someone selling a ticket on Twitter, you should snoop around their account. An actual Swiftie will probably have tweeted about the Eras Tour or Swift herself, for example. If they only recently started posting things about the artist you’re trying to see, it may be a scam, said one apparent veteran of the Twitter ticket wars.
Additionally, some accounts have been accused of using profile photos that are pictures of random fans with Swift, suggesting they may be scammers posing as a real-life fan who needs to sell their tickets. A reverse image Google search can help make sure the person in the photo is the account holder, or you can look through other media they’ve posted to confirm.
It’s also important to make sure they haven’t recently changed their username. Some accounts will get caught trying to sell fake tickets and then change their handle so you can’t search them to see what other people are saying about their activities.
Other fishy things to look out for include substantial grammatical or spelling errors, inconsistencies in the tour dates or cities they’re offering, or pushy conversations. If they genuinely want to sell tickets to another fan, they’ll probably be more than happy to show any proof you request so you can feel comfortable.
4. Search the person’s account name on Twitter.
Along with digging through their social media history, you can also search their account name on Twitter to see if people are talking about or complaining about them. You can use the Twitter search feature and look up “@username + dm” or ”@username + tickets.” Other people may have posted screenshots of scammy DMs, or other fans may be warning others about buying from them.
As previously noted, it’s possible for someone to change their username after getting caught or being accused of selling fake tickets, so be cautious about this. Just because you don’t find any complaints doesn’t mean that they’re legitimate.
5. If they seek you out, they’re probably not legit.
If it seems too good to be true, then it most likely is. That means if someone randomly messages you asking if you want to buy tickets, it’s probably a scam.
A person selling legit tickets may post a tweet listing the date and concert venue. More likely, though, they may get in touch with a larger resale hub page, like this one for BTS, or this one for Harry Styles, or @ErasTourResell for Swift. Run almost exclusively by fans, these accounts will have information about buying and selling via their hubs, and their listing processes.
For example, this Twitter account for Styles’ Love on Tour directs sellers to provide a screenshot of their ticket with their username watermarked, proof of payment, a screen recording from Ticketmaster, and a message stating they’ll use PayPal Goods & Services. While this doesn’t 100% ensure the tickets are legitimate, it helps to have all of those factors checked off.
6. Ask for a screen recording, but continue to be cautious.
Asking for a screen recording of the seller’s Ticketmaster app is a good step toward ensuring the tickets are real. Once someone purchases a ticket through Ticketmaster, they’ll be able to access the record of that sale at any time on the app. The account has unique details exclusive to the buyer that they can share with you as a step in the verification process.
Screen recordings are also easy to manipulate, and @ErasTourResell pointed out it helps to be familiar with what a screen recording of the Ticketmaster app would look like and the signs footage has been faked. If the person sends you a video of their Ticketmaster app, make sure there aren’t any glitches throughout it. All of the information should be correct (like the concert date, seats, row, time, and venue) and the video should be completely smooth and clear, starting from the buyer’s home screen to the ticket.
7. Don’t send any money until you’ve verified that they’re real tickets.
It can be tempting to immediately jump on the opportunity to purchase tickets from someone you think is legitimate, but don’t let them push you into sending payment too soon. You should make sure that they’re 100% real prior to sending anything, even if they ask for some sort of down payment (a seller asking for a down payment is usually a sign of a scam, anyway).
Many fans selling real concert tickets online want them to go to another fan who is just as excited about the show. They almost certainly won’t demand that you send them half the money on Venmo first, and they won’t complain if you ask for various ways to prove the tickets are real. Listen to your gut instincts, be safe, and don’t be too eager about sending money before you verify as much as possible.
8. If you’re able, opt for a secondary ticketing site instead.
Third-party ticket vendors like SeatGeek and StubHub are generally safer options. StubHub, for instance, says that buyers and sellers can use the site with 100% confidence via their FanProtect Guarantee, which promises valid tickets or your money back.
SeatGeek offers a similar promise. Self-proclaimed as a “trusted consumer marketplace,” the service claims that all buyers will receive valid tickets in time for their concert date. If for any reason they don’t, SeatGeek has a Buyer Guarantee that works on a case-by-case basis and offers comparable or better tickets, a full refund or credit.