Bad ticket scalping experiences in Singapore

Singapore’s had our fair share of international superstars gracing our stages. I mean, who can forget the absolute chaos that happened with Taylor Swift and Coldplay? But with the good comes the bad, and there have been many unfortunate cases of ticket scalping in recent months.

We’ve gathered some tragic ticket scalping experiences, not to mock them, but to enlighten future concert goers to be wary of such incidents. Especially when there are tonnes of upcoming concerts this year. So read on, and take notes, kids.

1. Mistaken for a girl & hit on by seller

alan walker tickets
Image credit: Alastair Pang

It’s not everyday when Alan Walker spins at Marquee. That’s why I gathered my party pals and made plans to see the Norwegian DJ on 16th September 2023, albeit a little last minute. I was sourcing for an extra ticket for a female friend on Carousell when I came across this listing that was selling a ticket for $150. Bear in mind that the original price of a female ticket was $80.

After negotiating with the seller, I managed to settle on $100 for the ticket. But before payment could be made, the seller pulled a “I’ve got a higher bidder than you” move on me – claiming that there’s someone offering $130 instead.

My girlfriend, Kezia, found this to be odd, so she used her own account to chat with the seller. Lo and behold, the seller was willing to sell the ticket to her for just $100.

Unfortunately for the seller, Kezia stopped responding and had reported this to me. So the seller had no choice but to double-text me, tail between his legs, and offer the ticket for $100.

alan walker tickets
Disclaimer: Alastair already had a few drinks before this, so he was a little frisky with his replies.
Image credit: Alastair Pang

Because this whole hoo-ha was for my female friend, she was the one who made the payment via PayNow. PayNow users will know – the reciever can see the name of the payer. And this, kids, is how the seller met his wife. JK. This was why the seller mistook me for a girl, and proceeded to ask “her” to meet at the club.

Spoiler alert: we eventually went to the meeting point out of curiosity. But one look at the seller and my friend went running. We’ll leave it to you to imagine why.

Alastair Pang, 27

2. Scammed for a Thailand show after booking flights

Ask any of my friends and they’ll know that I love Chinese superstar Wang Yibo. When I knew that fans could meet and interact with him at a movie roadshow in Thailand, I jumped the gun and booked my flight tickets and accommodations immediately.

The movie ticket was going for THB1,500 (~S$55.49) but I wasn’t worried – I thought that it would be easy to score tickets. But boy was I wrong. Tickets were sold out within minutes, and rumours started circulating that the event organiser had sold some to illegal ticket scalpers. Regardless, there was a 2nd round of tickets released, but I. STILL. DIDN’T. GET. ANY.

 wang yibo roadshow
Image credit: Selina Lee

I couldn’t give up there, could I? There were a bunch of sellers online, and I found this profile who was selling a ticket for THB4,500 (~S$166.49). I decided to try my luck.

After transferring him the money, he replied saying that he’s facing some technical issues sending the tickets, but he’ll be able to send soon. But after 15 minutes of chasing and countless unread messages, I knew that I had been scammed. And the worst part – I couldn’t make a police report because the person is in Thailand.

This time, I had resigned to my bad luck. But as fate would have it, someone messaged me on X responding to my thread of rants about this seller. Turns out, she also got scammed by the same person, but she managed to score extra tickets from another legit seller.

wang yibo roadshow
Image credit: Selina Lee

The person said that I could pay her when we met up at the theatre in Thailand, which gave me some security. I’ll keep the ending short – we met up, I paid for the tickets, and I got to meet the love of my life. As a certain Miss Swift says, “me and karma vibe like that”. Although I ended up spending THB12,500 (~S$462.60) for a THB1,500 ticket, it was worth it to me.

Selina Lee, 29

3. Stood up by seller on the day of the concert

eras tour ticket scam
Image credit: Cheryl Nya

Swifties will know about The Great War we had to go through to get concert tickets. There were lots of Telegram group chats and individual sellers selling tickets, and I found a seller that seemed reasonable. He was willing to collect payment upon meeting and required no deposits. He was also selling the tickets at the original price, which was rare.

To me, it meant that the possibility of getting scammed was literally 0.

We agreed to meet at 5pm outside the Stadium on the day off the concert. My friends and I made our way, friendship bracelets and all, and texted the seller to ask what he was wearing. You know, to easily identify each other.

eras tour ticket scam
Image credit: Cheryl Nya

But at 5.01pm, the seller replied saying that he found another buyer. WHAT? Needless to say, I was screaming, crying. I let loose a couple of F-bombs on him, only to receive a moon emoji reply and another calling me a B****.

We failed to find alternative tickets as it was 2 hours before the start of the concert, so we ended up experiencing the concert from Cat 100 – AKA outside the Stadium.

Cheryl Nya, 19

4. Getting outbid for overpriced tickets

nct concert scam
Image credit: Joy Koh

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love the K-pop group NCT. They were initially scheduled to perform in Singapore in March 2020, and I had scored decent tickets for the show. But as we all know, the pandemic happened and the concert was cancelled. Needless to say, I was devastated.

I thought that I had to wait years before another world tour would happen. After all, it takes tonnes of planning and money to make it happen. So it was truly a dream come true for me when Singapore was one of the selected locations for their The Dream Show tour in 2023.

IYKYK, it’s an absolute fight to score tickets for K-pop concerts. I was aiming for Cat 1 tickets which were originally $288, but by the time I had entered the ticketing system, most of the tickets were already sold out.

My friends and I decided to go for resale tickets instead. We went on Carousell and X as there were countless accounts selling concert tickets. Sadly, many sellers took advantage of the bidding option – with prices going up to $1,500/ticket. But I, a struggling student, was not able to outbid these prices.

It was extremely disheartening to fail at securing tickets for my favourite group. Even more so when I saw TikToks of the concerts with empty sections – this was probably due to resellers failing to sell off tickets that they had mass-bought. This also added to my outrage and injustice of the situation as true fans like myself were deprived of watching our oppas IRL.

Joy Koh, 25

5. Dragged into a larger “MLM” scam system

All I wanted was to attend a boxing match. Instead, I got roped into a larger scam.

boxing event scam
Image for illustrative purposes only.

Due to personal commitments, my friends and I could only confirm our availability for the event on the day of. Desperate as we were, we waited outside the venue in hopes that a kind soul would be selling the tickets. I’m no stranger to scoring resale tickets, so I went on Carousell to search for any last-minute sales too.

After scrolling through listings, I found a seller who seemed pretty reputable – he had positive ratings from previous buyers, and he sent proof of the tickets which looked valid. He was selling tickets at $200 each, but I managed to haggle them for $100/ticket. This should’ve been my first red flag – that the seller was quick to accept my low asking price.

But I ignored the warning signs. The seller instructed me to make payment before he sent over the tickets, which was pretty common in my experience. But before I could transfer the money, the seller told me to pay to another phone number. This was nothing alarming to me as I thought he had 2 phones – 1 for work and 1 for personal use.

boxing event scam
Image credit: Elizabeth Lim*

After transferring to the other number, the seller went MIA on us. It then dawned on me that we were never receiving the promised tickets.

I tracked down the numbers from PayNow and messaged the person on Whatsapp and Telegram. It turns out that this person, let’s call him Nick, was not the actual scammer, and that he was a victim of a bigger scam.

TL;DR, the actual scammer would post requests for people to help with deliveries. Interested and innocent parties like Nick would then respond and give his number for the delivery, only for the scammer to use Nick’s number as the PayNow account. This is so the scammer’s details will not be traced back to him.

Once Nick received the money, the scammer would instruct him to buy products such as gaming cards – things that can be resold online to other victims. If this is making your head spin, you’re not alone. It’s basically an elaborate scheme involving multiple parties, just so it would be difficult to backtrack to the original bad guy.

I ended up making a police report with whatever information I had, but I was unable to recover the $300 spent on the tickets. Neither did I get to see grown men fighting in an enclosed arena, but I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities for that.

– Elizabeth Lim*, 20

*Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality. 

Horrifying ticket scalping experiences

If you’ve read all the stories and gone “WTF?”, same. But such is the cruelty of life, and there are plenty of other ongoing scams in Singapore aside from these. Man, we’re not even safe when we travel overseas as there are travel scams to watch out for as well. Just remember to keep your wits about you. And if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

Other perspectives, if you’re kaypoh:

Cover image adapted from: Cheryl Nya & Alastair Pang

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