Adding Ticket Security to Your Next Event

By Lance Trebesch

Managing an event can be a headache in a lot of ways. One of the technologies that are making this worse is digital imaging. The same technology that makes it easy to share and reproduce pictures makes it even easier to duplicate tickets to events. With a $50 scanner printer device a user can reproduce almost any document in as little as a few seconds. While this might not be a huge concern when planning your next Senior Citizen Ball, it can represent a large loss of income for a High School Prom. The problem only gets worse among college students.

Fortunately, there are some cheap and easy steps that will eliminate most ticket fraud. With a little thought into your ticket design it is easily possible to add features that will make it harder to copy and generally deter any attempts at forgery.

Full Color: Color Ink is still expensive for most home and office printers. Most home and office ink jet printers that you can buy cheaply are intentionally designed to use ink rapidly creating a recurring revenue stream for the manufacturers. For most events, it is not cost effective to waste valuable ink on a couple of tickets that are reasonably priced. Professionally printed tickets are usually printed on digital presses where it is the same price to use a little color as it is to have a fully saturated ticket design. Color itself is typically only a couple of cents more per ticket than black and white would be.

MicroPrint: Printing a border of text in a font size of 1 point or less creates a pattern that is difficult to reproduce. The original prints fine as the computer knows the exact location of each dot, but when the print is scanned and then reprinted the ink tends to wander from one part of the letter to another leaving evidence of tampering.

Barcodes: If you are looking for something a little more effective, barcodes on your ticket are easy to implement. The price for barcode scanners has been reduced to the point where you can pick one up for $100 or less that will connect to a computer. This can then be used to either verify that only one ticket is used per seat or that all tickets have the same value. The truth is that as long as you are scanning the tickets people assume that you have special information in that bar code and are unlikely to try a forge the tickets.

Security Ticket Stock: There are a variety of anti fraud papers and cardstocks that can be used for printing tickets. These range in price, but are very effective at deterring fraud. Examples range from a watermark on the paper, heat sensitive ink, to the security features that are used in the paper that our money is printed on.

In the end, most people are timid. They are willing to try and cheat the system only when they are fairly certain that they will not be caught. As the ticket becomes more sophisticated it becomes harder to know for sure that you were able to reproduce all of the features of the original tickets and less people are willing to take that chance. In the end you win not when you catch people trying to cheat the system, but when they stop trying.