Bedford Borough Council issues warning over River Festival ‘scam’

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River Festival Scam
Bedford Borough Council were quick to warn people about the scam on Facebook.

Bedford Borough Council has issued a warning over a possible River Festival scam that claims to be providing tickets for the event.

The Facebook page, ‘All Things Beds, Herts and Bucks’, which has now changed its name to ‘All things Bedford’ posted a link for tickets for the 2020 Bedford River Festival earlier today, anyone clicking the link was taken to an Eventbrite ticketing page.

The Eventbrite page, which listed the people behind the former ‘All Things Beds, Herts and Bucks’ page as the organisers of the River Festival, said that tickets would be on sale from 18 July 2020.

The Facebook post has now been deleted but we don’t know if Facebook deleted the post or if the page owners decided to take it down.

Bedford Borough Council were quick to issue a scam warning to anyone who may have thought they were going to need tickets for next year’s event.

On their Facebook page they said: “We are aware of an unofficial ‘Bedford River Festival 2020’ facebook event encouraging people to register for a ticket for the Festival.

“The River Festival is a free event, you do not need a ticket to attend and there is no need to register.”

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson also told the Bedford Independent that this isn’t the first time they’ve had issues with this page.

“It is extremely unhelpful when unofficial events are created on facebook and spread misinformation about our events,” added the spokesperson. “We have complained to facebook about this.

“We would encourage individuals interested in coming to the River Festival and other Council events to follow our official Facebook page, and our Bedford Events page.”

Bedford Events Facebook
If a council event on Facebook isn’t attached to the Bedford Events page, then it’s a fake.

A spokesperson for Eventbrite added: “While we enable anyone to create an event through our platform, we require that all users abide by our Community Guidelines.

“We take the issue of inauthentic content very seriously and our policy is to remove it when we become aware of it.

“Since this event has already been reported, our trust and safety team is currently investigating it to verify whether this event listing is indeed fraudulent.”

Just as we went to publication, Eventbrite confirmed that they have taken the listing down.

The Bedford Independent has contacted ‘All things Bedford’ to ask them what the Eventbrite page is for. They have read our message but we did not have a reply at the time of publication.

Speculation as to why they did this has ranged from a publicity stunt to capturing people’s email addresses for marketing purposes. Nothing, as yet, has been confirmed.

What can you do if you’re unsure about a Facebook page?

  • If you think a Facebook page is spreading false information, fake news or ticketing scams then ‘unlike’ them immediately
  • You can then report them to Facebook by clicking or tapping on the three dots below their cover photo and selecting ‘give feedback or report this page
  • Then tell your friends to watch out and do the same
  • If necessary report the page or the scam to the relevant authorities
  • If you see an event on Facebook that is not attached to the correct organiser, then do not interact with that event

How can you be sure a page is genuine?

The best way to check if a page is genuine and trustworthy is to see if it has a blue tick. This is Facebook’s way of telling people the page is genuine and has trusted content.

Bedford Independent Blue Tick
Facebook pages with a blue tick, like the Bedford Independent, have been verified by Facebook as a trusted source of information.

However, there are still many trustworthy pages who have not got a blue tick yet. There are a few ways you can tell if these can be trusted:

  • Look at the frequency of posts, is it very high or very low? If they’re posting too much or too little, be cautious
  • See how many people have liked and shared if the page has loads of likes but limited likes and comments on the posts that’s a warning sign
  • See if the content matches the page’s description. Does the page have a title suggesting it is about one thing but it mostly posts about something else
  • Is there a real website attached to the page?

Pages that are run by businesses may have a grey tick but this just confirms the business exists, it does not give an indication of its content.

The main message is, if you’re ever unsure of a page, ‘unlike’ it straight away and tell your friends and family to do the same.