Taylor Swift fans were left vying for the popstar’s Lover Fest tickets when they went on sale late last year, and now, some are mortified to learn that their Ticketmaster accounts have been hacked – leaving their tickets no where to be found.
In support of her 2019 record Lover, Swift opted to take a different route and rather than cross the country on a massive world tour, she will play just a handful of festivals. She created her own “Lover Fests” which will take place on the east and west coast this summer for just four shows total. Tickets were not easy to obtain; fans had to register through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program and then, due to high demand, were left in virtual waiting queues for hours to try and buy tickets.
However, in January, fans began to post stories on Twitter about their Ticketmaster accounts being hacked. Their Lover Fest tickets were taken and then resold on Ticketmaster’s resale platform or other secondary ticketing sites. All of a sudden, these fans began to receive emails about Ticketmaster transfers that they had never authorized.
— Erin Smith🦋 (@smith_erin19) January 7, 2020
SWIFTIES my lover fest west tickets were stolen (someone hacked into my account and transferred them, aka whats been happening to everyone) &TM got them back for me in 12 hours after i set an angry email but PLS be cautious! make sure your tickets are still there &change your pw)
— “KASSANDRA!”🦋💗😎🍹🍰 (@wondrlandswift) January 8, 2020
“It was terrible,” fan Christine Benway told Billboard. “I could literally see my tickets up for resale in front of my own eyes.”
Another fan, Erin Smith, told the publication that she began to receive many odd emails for subscriptions she never signed up for.
“When I finally got the chance to go through these emails, I found one from Ticketmaster saying that my tickets had been transferred to someone I didn’t know,” Smith said. “I was obviously shocked.”
A customer service representative reportedly told a fan that “it was an issue they were having with the Taylor Swift concert because of their popularity.” A spokesperson told Billboard that these hackings occur to many high-profile events, not just Swift’s Lover Fests.
“These fraudsters tend to go after more valuable goods across all industries, which in this case, appears to be impacting some ticket buyers,” the spokesperson said.
Music fans across all genres experienced similar issues; both Post Malone and Lumineers fans reportedly had their tickets transferred without their consent. However, Ticketmaster said that the only way to avoid this issue is to create a completely unique password on their site. In this situation, they can only transfer the tickets back to the original ticketholder if the tickets had not been sold. If they had been transferred and then resold on the site, there was nothing they could do.
Is there more the site should do to prevent this from happening? According to Steve Morgan, editor-in-chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication would help this situation, that way, users can enter a code sent to their phone during login. Morgan told Billboard that app providers have “not only a technical obligation, but also a moral and ethical one, to provide this extra level of security when they know their users and customers are exposed without it.”