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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The war on counterfeit tickets: The measures manufacturers are taking to avoid fakes

How manufacturers bypass fake tickets
Just as currency uses counterfeit precautions, so too do ticket producers
By Tammy Wiltshire

Summer has arrived, heralding the start of the festival season. Along with Wellington boots, tents and plenty of mud, this time of year also sees a dramatic increase in something decidedly less festive. Yes, we're talking about counterfeit tickets. Those passes to seeing your favourite bands or sports team (if you're heading to one of the many events of the summer, such as Wimbledon) that you bought for a suspiciously low price could be a complete waste of your money. So how do you sort the real thing from the pretenders, and what are manufacturers doing to ensure that legitimate tickets are easily distinguishable from the fakes?

Holographic foils

An increasingly popular way for manufacturers to set their tickets apart from counterfeit ones, holographic foils are easy to incorporate into the design and layout of a ticket, but extremely hard for forgers to replicate. Ticket buyers should look for holographic foil that is consistent with other tickets provided by the company or venue, and for something that creates a two or three-dimensional effect when light hits the holographic structures at different angles. Anything that looks flat or static should not be trusted, as a genuine holographic foil shifts and changes colours when moved under light.


Many tickets have barcodes on their labels. Using a barcode means that the tickets can be scanned at the entrance to the venue, helping the promoter or venue keep track of how many people have arrived. It is also a good way of making sure that if there is any suspicion over the legitimacy of the ticket, as it can be verified in a quick and simple way. If tickets being sold for an occasion have a barcode or serial number on them and yours does not, chances are it is a counterfeit. As barcodes are a popular choice amongst manufacturers, it is worth being sceptical if a ticket being sold does not include one.

UV markings

A slightly more high-tech sounding addition to a ticket, but one that many manufacturers are now using. Invisible under normal light, the UV markings will appear when a special UV scanner or light is used to check the ticket. Extremely hard for ticket forgers to re-create, this is a valuable addition weapon in the war against counterfeit tickets, and one that many manufacturers will be wise to use.

Coloured layers

Security paper is a great way to distinguish between a counterfeit and genuine ticket if a venue lacks modern technology such as barcode scanners. There is a layer of coloured paper that can only be seen when the ticket is ripped in half. The coloured layers are extremely difficult to mimic and a simple way of adding a subtle security feature to your tickets.

Quality materials

Finally, perhaps the most overlooked way to check if a ticket is genuine – but perhaps the easiest. Legitimate manufacturers will be in possession of the highest quality materials, so if the ticket is printed on to flimsy, paper-like material, it's more likely to be a fake. If you scratch the surface of your ticket with a coin or your nail and the ink smudges, it's very likely to be a counterfeit, as the professional printing facilities at a genuine manufacturer will produce tickets of a high quality finish.

The ongoing struggle

Of course, forgers’ abilities to recreate tickets are ever-evolving, but these weapons in the war against fake tickets are what manufacturers are using to assure customers that the tickets they have purchased are the real thing. If in doubt, check to see if any of the design features included on our list are present on your ticket, and keep some ticket stubs of your own to use as reference points. With this knowledge, you'll be free to enjoy your favourite events without the fear of being turned away at the entrance!

About the author: Tammy Wiltshire is the Marketing Manager for label manufacturers Labelnet, Tammy has worked in the industry for many years and understands the problem that counterfeit tickets are having on consumers and event companies.

Image: Kaz/Pixabay, US-PD