Part 1: In-person transactionCredit card scammers and online fraudsters get more clever every day. Any business can be susceptible to fraud, but events are being increasingly targeted by scammers, making them vulnerable to fraud and transaction disputes which can create huge (and expensive) headaches for event producers. 


Ticketing fraud can happen online or in person, and each comes with its own sinister threats to your business. In this three-part series, we’ll cover how you can reduce ticketing fraud both online and in person, as well as how Passage reduces fraud at events. 


Keep reading for tips to help reduce fraud at your event in person. 

hot air balloon festival
Just the simple act of scanning tickets as guests can can deter would-be fraudsters from trying to enter your event without valid admission.

1. Scan tickets

Ticketing fraud isn’t limited to credit card hackers or professional scammers. Sometimes it’s as unexceptional as a guest printing off multiple copies of the same ticket for their friends, faking a hand stamp for entry, or bringing their own paper wristband to gain access to your event. If you’re using one of those old school admissions methods, you’re leaving your event vulnerable to fraud. 


Making sure people have valid tickets when they enter your event is one of the simplest ways to reduce ticketing fraud, and it’s also one of the most effective. Use a ticketing service that provides a unique barcode or QR code for each ticket you sell, and scan those tickets in as guests enter the event. The simple act of scanning tickets can deter would-be fraudsters from even attempting to scam you. Plus, scanning has the added benefit of providing you with data about which guests actually showed up at your event, so you can segment your audiences for more effective remarketing campaigns. 


If you’re especially concerned about fraud, you could also check IDs at the door to make sure the name on each guest’s ID matches the name on their ticket. 

circus performer with skull makeup blowing on multiple fire batons held in front of their face
Using an old-school credit card swiper is like playing with fire. The new “chipped” card readers are much more secure and harder for fraudsters to scam.

2. Use a “chip” reader

You know that magnetic strip on the back of your credit card? Scammers love using those to create fraudulent copies of your information. And when a cardholder notices a fraudulent charge on their card, guess who ends up paying? The merchant. That’s you. 


You can dramatically reduce your event’s risk of credit card fraud by using a terminal that reads a card’s EMV or smart chip instead of the magnetic strip to process a transaction. Instead of swiping a card’s magnetic strip through the terminal, the guest inserts one end that has a smart chip and completes the purchase with a signature or by entering their PIN. It’s much more secure than an old school swiper which only reads the magnetic strip on cards. 

hand of a person using their phone to complete a tap-to-pay transaction while another hand holds the card terminal
Tap-to-pay is just as secure as a chip-and-signature or chip-and-PIN transaction, and it’s even more convenient for the guest. So easy they might end up spending more at your event!

3. Accept tap-to-pay

Contactless cards experience among the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment. They use the same secure technology as EMV chips, which means every contactless transaction includes a one-time use cryptographic code that prevents counterfeit fraud.


Tap-to-pay has the added benefit of being more convenient for guests. They don’t even need to take their card out of their wallet to complete a transaction, and they likely have their phone out or at least close at hand. If your event offers add-on experiences, upgrades, a concessions stand or a merchandise shop, this can be especially useful in getting guests to spend more during their visit since it’s so easy for them to complete a purchase. 

person holding an ice coffee while deciding what to eat at an outdoor festival
Problems with excessive chargebacks or disputes after your events? Consider requiring a signature with in-person transactions.

4. Require a signature for in-person transactions

It’s popular these days for businesses to throw caution to the wind and allow purchases under a certain dollar amount to process without anything more than a card swipe or dip. That’s fine for multinational corporations, who don’t care about losing out on a $50 or $100 purchase now and then if the transaction is disputed. But are you comfortable with that risk? 

Requiring a signature with every credit card transaction can be useful in reducing fraud and disputes. It’s an extra step in the checkout process, but one that is relatively quick and painless for the customer. 


Decide what makes sense for your business, and take into account whether you’re in an especially high-risk area or have had issues with disputed transactions in the past. If you’ve never had a fraudulent transaction before, or your dispute rate is extremely low, you may not need this extra step. However, if you’re concerned about getting hit with a bunch of disputed transactions this season, requiring a signature may be just the ammunition you need to win each of those disputes.


(p.s. Did you know Passage automatically fights disputes and chargebacks for you! Schedule a demo to learn more about how we fight ticketing fraud so you don’t have to.)


5. Control employee access

No event producer wants to believe that their employees or volunteers could be involved in a scam against their business, but it does happen. Sometimes it’s on a small scale, like giving unauthorized refunds to their friends who essentially gain free admission to your event. 


Make sure all employees have a login to their own profile on your ticket selling & scanning software. It’s a good practice to limit access to things like financial records on a need-to-know basis. That applies for selling and refunding tickets, too. Team members who are scanning folks in at the door probably don’t need to have sell/refund access. Use a ticketing platform that allows you to customize access for different employee positions. 


By assigning every employee their own login, you can better track down where something went wrong if you need to investigate a questionable transaction or refund.

two female friends playing with rainbow ribbon at festival
Want happy guests and fewer headaches? Schedule a demo to learn how Passage can help you reach more fans and sell more tickets, all while preventing fraud at your event.

6. Use Passage

We do everything we can to keep fraudsters away from your event. In person, there’s no better system for lightning-fast scanning to secure access to your event. We’ve made it simple to control employee access and accept secure payment methods like chipped cards and tap-to-pay. Plus, we automatically fight any disputed transactions for you. So you don’t have to worry about gathering all the paperwork and records on your own. 


Online, we use a combination of state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning systems to rank the risk level of every transaction in real-time, in combination with human review to catch fraudulent transactions and stop them in their tracks. Did we mention we do all this at ZERO cost to your event?


Learn more about how Passage can work for your event by scheduling a demo today!