Crime

Ticket scammers prey on Dubai Coldplay fans after free Expo 2020 concert fully-booked

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Ticket scammers are preying on Coldplay fans in Dubai after the British band’s free Expo 2020 concert was fully-booked within two hours of reservations going live.

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Lena Abdullah, a 24-year-old Dubai resident, was the unfortunate victim of a scammer.

“I’ve dreamed about this night my whole life, I was so sad that [they] scammed me, it was so bad,” she told Al Arabiya English.

The Jordanian teacher logged on to the Expo website half an hour before bookings went live on Saturday night in order to secure a ticket.

She waited in a virtual queue for an hour and a half before the website crashed, she said. By that time, the concert was fully-booked.

Posting on Twitter, she tried to buy a ticket to her ‘dream’ gig and was messaged with offers ranging up to $408 (AED 1,500).

Lena eventually found a seller who provided proof of purchase and asked for $102 (AED 375) for three tickets.

After she transferred the funds, the scammer blocked her.

“I feel really bad. I’m shaking, I’m so, so, so sad. I’ve never contacted the police before.

“Now I have to go through all of this, and especially for me to see the people that I love the most, it’s really, really sad.”

An Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson warned against buying Coldplay tickets from resellers.

“We caution visitors against paying money to an untrusted source. The original purchaser may distribute more than one copy of the same ticket, thus leading to fraudulent sales,” said a press statement issued on the Expo website on Saturday evening.

A Facebook search on Sunday morning revealed that many people were looking to sell tickets online.

Al Arabiya English spoke to several of the resellers – most were asking for $27 (AED 100) for a ticket, although others were looking for up to $136 (AED 500).

One person told Al Arabiya English that they had reserved several tickets for the sole intention of reselling them.

Others claimed that they had initially planned to attend the concert but then were not able to make it.

The Expo team in a press statement urged people without tickets to watch the concert on Tuesday from one of the alternative venues.

The show will be livestreamed on screens at Jubilee Park, Festival Garden, and Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre which will operate on a first come, first serve basis.

It will also be streamed online on the virtualexpodubai.com website, the Expo YouTube channel, and Expo TV.

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