At least one unauthorised website is touting tickets to next year's football World Cup in South Africa, Australia's consumer watchdog said on Sunday as it warned of potential fraud in online ticketing.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said an international review of thousands of websites, including some 1,400 ostensibly based in Australia, underscored the need for consumer vigilance.
"Results indicate that online ticketing has emerged as an area of concern," commission deputy chairman Peter Kell said.
"In this year's sweep, the ACCC identified an unauthorised site offering tickets for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa at www.worldcupticketing.com."
The website, written in poorly worded English, offers to "deliver at your door step" tickets to all rounds of the World Cup as well as "best deals for world cup final match ticket for South Africa Soccer Cup."
"The only way consumers can buy a ticket is through the FIFA ticket allocation or from a licensed tour operator authorised to sell tickets on FIFA's behalf as part of a travel package," Kell said in a statement.
Football's governing body FIFA welcomed the Australian regulator's statement ahead of the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11.
"We have a common goal to protect true fans who are being cheated by unauthorized ticket touts who are purporting to sell legitimate tickets they do not have," FIFA Secretary General Jirtme Valcke said in the ACCC statement.
Kell said while online ticketing had eliminated the need for ticket-buyers to queue, it had also opened up room for fraudsters to sell entry to events with no guarantee they could deliver.
In 2008, scores of Australians were reportedly caught in an alleged global scam believed to have conned people worldwide into buying non-existent tickets for the Beijing Olympics.