Walker Warns On Fake Wristbands

Fraudsters are planning to target next summer’s festivals by swamping the market with highly convincing fake wristbands, according to a UK security expert.

There’s evidence that criminals tried a test run this year, Reg Walker from Iridium Security told Virtual Festivals conference at London’s O2 cinema Nov. 19.

He told delegates that about 100 wristbands were seized at this year’s Reading Festival.

“What’s worrying is the quality of the wristband, right down to the barcode. They’re highly convincing and virtually indistinguishable from the real item,” he told a panel on festival crime.

He said there’s a threat to public order if large volumes of people turn up at events and are denied entry.

“If you have many thousands of people turned away when they have paid £100, £150 or £200, that is where the danger lies,” he explained. “When you have hundreds of people all trying to get through the gates, the pressure is on the security staff to let people in. Fortunately they were on the ball in this case.”

“One or more of the major festivals is going to get hit unless we deal with this now. This is the most serious problem and the most serious challenge we face in 2010,” he said.

Walker, who works on the V Festivals, T In The Park and Isle Of Wight, said the amount of effort and expense that the fraudsters have gone to means it’s not commercially viable for them to produce the fake wristbands in their hundreds.

Fake tickets and wristbands are usually bought from scam Web sites or touts outside events. Police and organisers consistently warn against using such outlets.