Ticketmaster Introduces Digitally-Encrypted Mobile Barcodes to Cut Down on Fraud


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Ticketmaster is introducing a new ticketing system that gives buyers a unique, digitally encrypted barcode to help prevent fraud.

The company’s new SafeTix system introduces an encrypted barcode that refreshes every few seconds.  That means the ticket can’t be copied by traditional means, nor can screenshots be shared.

If the ticket is sold or transferred, the barcode will continue refreshing for the new owner.  The person who receives the ticket will receive a new ticket linked to their account.

SafeTix will be used during the NFL’s 2019 season as a trial, though it is expected to be used for concert tours.

SafeTix also ties into Ticketmaster’s Presence software for venues and promoters. This software helps venue operators have more control over how tickets are bought and shared. Tickets sold this way are tied to a fan’s mobile phone, keeping an accurate record of who is in the building that night.

Ticketmaster expects to have the new system available at more than 500 venues by the end of 2019.  NFC tickets will be supported later this year, allowing for Apple Wallet ticket scans.

The new digital encryption should ensure that electronic tickets can no longer be duplicated into bogus clones.  But of course, every security innovation has a hole — it’s just a question of whether or not it can be easily exploited.

SafeTix includes communication tools to allow event owners to communicate directly with event attendees. Fans can receive venue instructions or event-specific instructions. The system can even be used to provide discounts on beverages and merchandise while attending the event.

While the new system should help reduce fraud, it also helps increase Ticketmaster’s bottom line.

Digital tickets must now be bought and sold through official channels, where Ticketmaster can take a cut of the fees from each sale.

Ticketmaster has come under fire for double-dipping on third-party ticket sales after an undercover video surfaced. The footage showed a representative for a partner company touting how one of Ticketmaster’s platforms doesn’t police itself properly to prevent robo-scalpers.  In fact, the practice seemed to be encouraged.