Scotland Yard has established a specialist UK police force to deal with counterfeit websites selling London Olympics 2012 tickets. It will also tackle fake ticketing and related criminal activity. Extra Government funding for the new unit has been made available after evidence emerged that organised crime groups are already trying to cash in on the event.
The specialist force will be split into two teams. The first will focus on e-crime such as attempted hacks on computer systems and fraud aimed at sponsors and prospective visitors. The other will aim to prevent ticketing fraud and will investigate ticketing web sites.
Investigators have already uncovered a network of internet domain names bought up by suspected criminals to cheat sports fans desperate for tickets.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Mawer, an expert in sophisticated fraud, said:
“It is common sense that where we already have organised criminal networks involved in ticketing activity they are going to get involved in the Olympics. We want to protect the reputation of the UK by putting in preventative measures aimed at organised crime attacks on the Olympics.”
Police are increasingly concerned about the easy availability of high-quality printing equipment to counterfeiters. They have urged businesses to sign up to a voluntary code of conduct to help block the supply and warned it may become necessary to tighten the law.
Police are also keen to emphasise that any Web site advertising tickets for the Olympics at the moment is doing so illegally. EU Ticket News reported last month on the activities of Show Time Tickets, a website which has been advertising availability for the 2012 games, despite the fact that tickets are not yet available.