Revellers desperate to secure last-minute tickets to watch the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks are being targeted by fraudsters who are focusing their efforts on the sold-out events via Facebook.
Concerns over Sydney’s surging COVID-19 cases have forced thousands to change or cancel their plans – many are forgoing ringing in the new year at some of Sydney’s most iconic indoor New Year’s Eve venues in favour of tickets to the outdoor vantage points, which have become hot commodities on Facebook’s resale market.
Locals looking to obtain tickets in online community groups have voiced concerns about being approached by ‘fake Facebook accounts’ attempting to sell tickets to the free events, one scammer claiming to be raising funds for an ill family member.
This year, tickets are essential for most vantage points around the harbour, with local residents encouraged to stay at home if they do not have a vantage point ticket or venue reservation.
Close to twenty of the most popular spots to watch the fireworks in Sydney are now subject to paid ticketing by the NSW government. The ‘pay to view’ model was introduced by the government in 2011 in a few locations and has now been expanded, despite causing community outrage.
The City of Sydney however, who pays for the 9:00 pm and midnight fireworks, is not charging for tickets to the six vantage points it controls in Elizabeth Bay, Glebe, Darling Point, Milsons Point and Pyrmont.
Tickets to popular viewing areas sold out quickly after being released in November. Demand remains high despite NSW reporting a record 12,226 cases in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison parried concerns that a spike in cases could follow Friday’s celebrations.
“What I would like people to do tomorrow night is enjoy the evening,” Mr Morrison said at a press conference earlier today. “I would like them to be looking forward into 2022.”