Virtual festivals in the UK have been targeted by scammers that have been charging fans to view free livestreams.
As COVID-19 saw thousands of festivals and events cancelled or postponed this year, many organisers opted to take their events online.
However, scammers have been found to be using Facebook phishing scams with fake pages and events to redirect fans and illegally charge them.
Kevin Tate, the editor of Festival & Events UK, has compiled a list of fake events and pages over the festival season.
In one instance he uncovered approximately 39 fake links to the Bristol event Love Saves the Day and more than 41 links to Reading and Leeds festival.
He said, according to the Guardian: “I sell tickets on my network with my own community. And I thought it would be good to share the streams from some festivals, such as Download festival on to my page, to get everyone involved during this pandemic.
“But I soon noticed spam coming across these official pages. That’s when I started to investigate it because I was wondering why would there be these fake links?”
Tate said many of the fake pages were set up weeks, or even a few days, before the event started, and often registered to countries such as Bangladesh.
He continued: “I do know some festivals have had live streams over the weekends, and I do know people are clicking on the links and getting charged different amounts. One person will get charged a couple of pence, and the other will get charged pounds.
“This may seem a small amount, but if you think about it, if the scammers get 100 people to click on their link, and people are charged different amounts, then it’s all going to add up.”
A spokeswoman from the UK music promoter Festival Republic said: “Facebook tells us they have been working to eliminate fake events on their platform, but some have continued to slip through. Both of our virtual events, Download TV and Wireless Connect, have been absolutely free and we’ve made that clear to our fans.
“We do remind fans to always check to make sure the accounts and events they’re interacting with online are verified Festival Republic pages or our official, affiliate brand partners. We encourage them to protect themselves online and be wary of engaging with any spam or fraudulent pages.”
Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis said the goal is to have the festival back in June 2021 after rumours that next year’s festival was moving to September.
Eavis said on Twitter: “For those who have been asking, we have no plans to move next year’s Glastonbury to September 2021 – we’re still very much aiming for June.”
For those who have been asking, we have no plans to move next year’s Glastonbury to September 2021 – we’re still very much aiming for June.
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) August 30, 2020
She also said there will be no ticket resale in October because “so few people have asked for a refund, meaning we don’t have enough tickets to resell”.
The resale has instead been pushed back to April 2021 and the free cancellation deadline moved until the end of January 2021.
Last month, festival founder Michael Eavis said he is “moving heaven and earth” to make the event go ahead in 2021, despite expressing doubts about it running next year.