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Football fans lose millions as e-crime unit shuts illegal websites

The Police Central E-Crime Unit (PCeU) has closed more than 100 websites in the UK and overseas that tricked people into buying fake football tickets worth millions of pounds, the Metropolitan Police Service said today.

The sites had been selling tickets to Premier League and Football Association matches in the UK. The tickets were either fraudulent or non-existent, the Met said.

PCeU spokesman Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie said no prosecutions would result from the action. The intention had been to gather intelligence and make people aware of the dangers of dealing with fake sites as the football season kicked off.

She expected to run the exercise again in the run up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

McMurdie said many sites sold legitimate tickets to other shows, but only some were allowed to offer football tickets. Legitimate ticket vendors who were selling football tickets illegally were told to remove the offer.

McMurdie said it was hard to say how many tickets had been sold or for how much. "The intelligence suggests it could run into millions of pounds," she said.

McMurdie said the sites looked genuine. An offending website in one country could be owned by someone living in another and the money routed to a third. The money was laundered through legitimate companies to set up future website scams.

She said there was evidence that the scam was well-organised but added there were lots of people doing it.

Advice to anyone buying a ticket online is to book through the venue's website. If you are scammed, contact

Consumer Direct.


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