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Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo
Liverpool fans say they've been conned out of £19,000 after buying fake Champions League final tickets.
As a football supporter there's perhaps no bigger moment than to watch your club play in a European cup final.
Sadly for Ray Mcdonald and his friends, they thought they had copped their tickets ahead of the final in Paris this Saturday, 28 May, which will, of course, feature Real Madrid Vs Liverpool.
Unfortunately, after further examining the tickets – which cost a whopping £1,000 each – the group were gutted to realise the PDFs were fake.
The man from Pensby, Wirral says he's bought tickets from the supposed ticket tout six times this season and they've always been reliable.
However, he soon realised the person had deleted their Twitter account and their number was no longer in service.
The 33-year-old claims he was added to a WhatsApp group, which included 50 fans, who have been scammed out of a total of 125-150 tickets.
Ray told the Liverpool Echo: "We bought 19 tickets at a grand each so we've spent £19,000 between us. It looked legit at first, I didn't think anything of it. About 11:00pm last night I was about to go to sleep and my phone was going mad.
"I tried to phone [the ticket tout] and it said the number was not in service anymore and at that point I was like 'I've been done here.'
"Everyone is gutted to be honest. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions."
Within six hours, Ray claims he had received thousands of messages from friends and other football fans who said they'd also been scammed after paying between £1,000-£1,250 per ticket.
Ray was told by his bank, who were unable to help him, to contact the police.
Another Liverpool fan who fell victim said he has seen other people buy legitimate tickets from the tout in the past and decided to buy two tickets to the final for him and a friend at a total cost of £2,500.
He said: "I found out last night and it does make you feel quite sick to be honest. I've been very careful about doing things like this in general.
"I feel like I'm pretty street wise but the fact that he had all these reviews from all these people who I vaguely know or I've met before, nothing made me think 'OK he could be a scammer'.
"I got sent them and thought they were legitimate and then literally two hours later their Twitter page got cancelled and their phone number was blocked. They've either fabricated a PDF which looks like it's plausible or they've actually got one ticket that was real and tried to copy and paste different things on it."
In an official statement this week, Liverpool FC said: "Liverpool Football Club has called on social media companies to close more than 50 social media accounts and groups it believes are actively involved in selling, or offering to sell, Champions League final tickets online.
"The club has also identified 13 supporters who have offered their tickets for Saturday’s game against Real Madrid for sale online. Those fans have had their tickets cancelled, while their accounts are in the process of being investigated further, with the possibility of added sanctions to follow.
"The move comes following a recent warning reminding supporters to buy tickets from official sellers only. The club received an allocation of 19,618 tickets for the all-ticket fixture at Stade de France in Paris this weekend.
"There has unfortunately been an increase in the number of fans being defrauded, online in particular, by fake match ticket offers. If any supporter is offered a ticket online, they should report it to LFC here - and to Action Fraud.
"Liverpool FC will not stand idly by and watch people try to sell tickets they have been fortunate enough to get access to via the ballot. All reports of ticket touting, or online ticket fraud, will be investigated in line with the LFC sanctions process.
"If a supporter has been found to have offered a ticket for sale online, this could result in a lifetime ban for that individual. The club is also encouraging supporters to be diligent when providing any personal or payment details to persons they do not know.
"Liverpool FC continues to work closely with Merseyside Police and, where possible, will pass on the details of any supporters who have offered a ticket for sale online."