The steps The Cure has taken to prevent ticket scalping to its highly anticipated tour is seemingly inspiring elaborate workarounds for ticket brokers and hackers. “Aged” Ticketmaster accounts, which are accounts that are years old rather than freshly created and which are more likely to win presale codes from Ticketmaster, are being sold on hacking forums. And a popular and secretive paid forum for ticket brokers is requiring brokers to sell entire Ticketmaster accounts (with The Cure tickets in them) to each other to circumvent the band's ban on reselling tickets above face value.
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The steps The Cure has taken have not stopped dedicated scalpers, however. Scalpers are simply buying and selling entire Ticketmaster accounts to sidestep the restrictions. Ticketmaster, meanwhile, has been getting hammered by fans and the band for the fees it has been charging for the tour.Hacked, stolen, or dummy (but phone-verified) accounts without Cure tickets are being sold to ticket brokers through a variety of services and forums. Those accounts, in the hands of brokers, can then be used to bypass protections designed to prevent brokers from buying tickets in the first place. Once brokers have bought the tickets (or obtained presale codes to buy tickets), the accounts themselves can then be resold with the tickets in the account to bypass restrictions on selling or transferring tickets (at typical scalping prices). Scalpers have been using stolen and hacked accounts to buy and resell tickets before The Cure asked for these recent anti-scalping protections, while selling entire Ticketmaster accounts which contain tickets scalpers wouldn’t be able to resell otherwise appears to be a new method introduced specifically for The Cure’s tour. Neither practice, however, is widely known to the general public.
Do you know anything about Ticketmaster's interactions with scalpers or the underground scalping economy? Contact Jason Koebler at firstname.lastname@example.org or securely on Signal at 202-505-1702.
Shows on Sale is an application-only, ticket broker forum that costs $149 per month. In addition to swapping tips, presale codes, public sale and presale dates, and other information, ticket brokers often buy and sell tickets with each other; these tickets will often end up on the secondary market.
Bypassing 'Verified Fan' with 'Aged Accounts'The sale of Ticketmaster login details is designed to defeat two different anti-scalping measures taken by both The Cure and Ticketmaster. The first of those is a sales strategy called “Verified Fan,” where presale codes to buy tickets are given to people who preregister with Ticketmaster through the use of an algorithm and a lottery. Ticketmaster does not specifically say how it verifies a “verified fan,” but the explicit purpose behind the program is to “help artists get more of their tickets into the hands of fans who want to go to the show, not buyers looking to resell them. When an artist chooses to use Verified Fan, we use a registration system to help filter out buyers looking to resell tickets for profit.”
Motherboard also found several broker-centric websites that advertise “Phone verified Ticketmaster Accounts.” One listing was for 100 accounts for $499. Another listing advertised a specific number of accounts from specific years. Older accounts cost more, and, on this website, accounts from 2016, for example, were completely sold out.
Another listing is selling accounts that have been guaranteed to have previously purchased tickets from Verified Fan presales in the past, presumably. These accounts are more than twice as expensive as other accounts for sale on the site: “These accounts have used to purchase tickets which accounts selected for Ticketmaster Verified Fan Presales from 2018,” the listing says. “Please note that some accounts does not have any past order records as TM keeps events only within past 90 days. But we guarantee all these accounts were used to purchased most of the VF Presale Tickets over the past few years.”
“Creating Ticketmaster accounts has become so hard these days. We provide bulk clean & phone verified Ticketmaster accounts for ticket brokers,” the advertisement states. “All Accounts have been created with unique USA residential proxies. Unique password for each account. Will be creating accounts on your own catchall emails/gmails/hotmails/yahoos. We have not added billing info as you have to add your own credit + billing info.”
“Option 1: You can provide us the emails list that you want the accounts to be created & we need access to those emails to verify accounts.
Option 2: You can provide us a catchall domain email access, & we will be crating accounts on your catchall emails ( RECOMENDED & EASIEST)”
Notably, Ticketmaster is currently restricting normal users from changing the email address associated with accounts: “We have temporarily restricted updates to email,” an error message on Ticketmaster's website said when we tried to change the email address associated with one of our accounts. “For urgent changes, please contact customer support for assistance.”
Selling Non-transferrable Tickets By Selling Entire AccountsAfter scalpers have successfully bought tickets for The Cure, they need to figure out how to sell them at a markup, while bypassing the fact that the tickets themselves are technically nontransferable for most of the band's shows. (The Cure noted that it could not prevent scalpers from listing tickets on the secondary market in New York, Colorado, or Illinois, “which actually have laws in place that protect scalpers!” This is true—laws in those states provide a ticket holder the freedom to do whatever they want with tickets they've bought, including selling them for prices above face value. These laws have been lobbied for by groups like the National Association of Ticket Brokers and others in the ticket industry.)