How To Spot Fake Football Tickets: A Guide

Unfortunately, online ticket fraud is becoming increasingly popular. While some tickets may be genuine, many are fake. In fact, over the course of the season, an average of 80 to 100 forged tickets are seized per game, leaving supporters unable to enter the stadium, disappointed and out-of-pocket – the last thing any football fan wants or needs. Therefore football fans are advised to take extra care when purchasing tickets and to understand how to spot fake football tickets, as many ticket scammers have the same technology that real ticket companies use, which can make it difficult to identify a real from a fake.

It’s important to keep your wits about you and if you think something looks fishy, you may well be right. It’s best to check beforehand, rather than visiting the stadium and being turned away. There are several tell-tale signs that can set alarm bells ringing immediately. Most commonly, the most obvious sign is when a website is offering you the opportunity to buy tickets to a popular football event, which is often sold out or football tickets haven’t officially gone on sale, but there are also physical signs too.

How to spot fake football tickets in 5 ways:

1. Holograms

Due to the rise in ticket touting, many football clubs have opted for tickets to come with hologram images. Holograms are almost impossible to replicate, making them less likely to be faked. To identify a fake, hold a genuine ticket next to it to compare – you will be able to spot flaws instantly.

2. Type of paper

Most football fans will know what a ticket feels like – often it has slight sheen and is printed on hard paper. If you are promised a football ticket but are issued with a ticket that is printed on flimsy, printer paper, alarm bells should be ringing. The same goes for if you purchase a ticket but are issued with an e-ticket that can be printed off at home. Make sure you get what you pay for.

Furthermore, many tickets are printed on paper with a perforated edge, so be wary of tickets that don’t. Before buying or heading to the game if you already have your ticket, check online with other people to see if your ticket matches theirs. Of course, this will be different if you are using an e-ticket and self-printing at home.

3. Printing

Many ticket scammers have the same technology that real ticket companies use, but a sure-fire way of telling the difference between a real and a fake is the printing quality. Often, ticket touts churn out hundreds of tickets at a given time and rushing their job. More often than not, these rushed jobs result in printing that is blurry or off-centre – something real ticket companies would not allow to be sent out to buyers.

In order to tell whether a ticket is real or fake, it’s a good idea to know what a “real” ticket looks like before buying from a reseller.

4. Serial numbers

Serial numbers are an important part of a ticket. Before buying or using a football ticket, you should check the barcode of the ticket. Check how many tickets should be visible on the ticket, if there should be 10, make sure it is exactly correct. Any less or more is a major no-no. If this happens to you, ask to see another ticket to ensure the serial numbers aren’t the same.

5. Typos/grammatical errors

As with anything, typos and grammatical errors can be a huge tell-tale sign that something isn’t professional or legitimate. Look for any subtle indicators that scream “fake ticket”, such as incorrect language, punctuation errors, random capital letters and fine print errors (e.g. “no refund” instead of “no refunds”.


How to make sure e-tickets are real

It can be more difficult to tell whether e-tickets are real because they can easily be created in a Word document and sent as a PDF file, leaving you with no qualms about whether it’s real or fake. However, just like normal tickets, it’s important to be extra vigilant to ensure you aren’t being scammed.

Firstly, when your ticket arrives, don’t wait until the last minute to download your e-ticket. As soon as it gets sent to your email (usually right after purchase or at least one week before the event), download it and review it with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure it looks accurate by checking for any typos or grammatical errors, as well as check the serial number too. If there are any issues, this will give you enough time to contact the people you bought it from to ask questions and get a refund if needs be.

It’s worth noting that the name on the ticket will almost never be your name when you purchase it in this way, but don’t worry, this won’t be an issue as you won’t be asked for ID upon arrival. The main thing to check is that your seat and serial number is correct.

Now you know how to spot a suspicious ticket, why not find out more about visiting one of English football’s most iconic grounds by reading our Anfield Stadium guide?


In order to ensure you are buying legitimate football tickets, ensure you are buying football tickets from reputable companies or people. You should be vigilant when purchasing tickets from social media or off the street, as this is the prime opportunity for ticket scammers to pounce. You can purchase tickets for various leagues around the world from our online shop, where all tickets have been thoroughly inspected.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our team or visit our FAQs page.