Italian Police Uncover Massive Online Ticket Scalping Operation Worth Millions
Italian authorities have uncovered a group of 26 individuals suspected of operating an online ticket scalping scheme in which they allegedly purchased over 15,000 tickets to 278 concerts and sold them at prices up to 10 times the face value, resulting in an illegal profit of over US$2.75 million.
The operation affected all major concerts in Italy scheduled for 2022 and 2023, marking the first successful prevention of online scalping before the events took place.
Ticket scalping involves purchasing tickets from authorized outlets, particularly for high-demand events, and reselling them at inflated prices through unauthorized channels. This leads to exorbitant ticket prices, creating an unfair market where fans are compelled to pay more than the face value to attend popular events.
The investigation of ticket distribution processes revealed that the 26 individuals utilized multiple fake accounts to generate abnormal ticket flows, bypassing technical and security measures implemented by the Italian tax agency for issuing electronic access tickets to entertainment events.
The inquiry commenced in Italy last September following reports of online scalping during the 2023 Coldplay concerts, which sold out within hours. Tickets were subsequently resold on unauthorized platforms at inflated prices.
Analysis of data provided by primary market operators enabled Italian authorities to discover that the individuals involved in ticket scalping had created approximately 150 accounts, with half registered under false identities using personal details of unaware or deceased individuals. These accounts were utilized to illegally purchase and resell over 700 tickets for various events.
Further investigations revealed that the group had acquired over 7,000 tickets using existing accounts, and the total number of tickets sold was estimated to exceed 15,000.
According to the investigation, the tickets involved in the illegal resale scheme were valued at over $1.10 million. Factoring in the commissions earned by the scalpers, the potential profits from selling these tickets at inflated prices on unauthorized platforms could have exceeded $2.75 million.
The identified accounts had purchased tickets for all major concerts scheduled for 2022 and 2023, featuring popular artists such as Maneskin, Andrea Bocelli, Blink 182, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Elton John, Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Vasco Rossi.