Fans have been warned against counterfeit ticket sales ahead of the Rugby World Cup ©Getty Images
A full investigation is being carried out into reports of counterfeit ticket sales ahead of the Rugby World Cup, with fans warned to only buy from official sources.

Work is also underway to educate the public as to websites to avoid, with the City of London Police working in conjunction with England 2015 and Rugby World Cup Limited, the respective organisers and owners of the sport's flagship event.

Those that are valid consist only of the official ticketing website for Rugby World Cup 2015, the official hospitality provider, Rugby Travel & Hospitality Ltd and one of the official sales agents of Travel Agents appointed by to sell hospitality and supporter tour packages around the world.

This means that many other established ticketing websites cannot be used, including, Viagogo, StubHub  and Seatwave.

Any tickets bought from these and other unofficial sources can be cancelled without a refund under Rugby World Cup's ticket terms and conditions.

Fans can use the Official Checker accessible here to find out whether a seller is legitimate.

"With continued high demand for Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets, we urge fans to only use official sources to purchase tickets and guarantee entry to the tournament," said England Rugby 2015 managing director, Stephen Brown.

"The discovery of these counterfeit tickets shows that there are unauthorised sellers and websites looking to exploit fans and we thank the City of London Police for their assistance in this matter.

"With tickets still available via all official sources, we would urge fans to only use these channels to ensure that they have the best possible Rugby World Cup 2015 experience."

An image of a very realistic looking counterfeit ticket available for sale ©England 2015
An image of a very realistic looking counterfeit ticket available for sale ©England 2015

There are around 50,000 tickets still available for 27 matches, including matches involving Australia, New Zealand and France.

An official ticket resale programme is also available via the same ticketing website

This is a free to use service for fans that can no longer attend a match to sell their tickets at face value to other fans. with 99 per cent of the tickets that have been posted having so far been sold.

"Fan experience is very much at the heart of what promises to be a very special celebration of rugby and we urge all fans who are yet to purchase tickets to do so from official channels only or risk being let down," added World Rugby chairman, Bernard Lapasset.

"With tickets available across official fan, supporter tour and hospitality options, fans should visit the ticketing website to check out the options.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Clark from the City of London Police added: "Ticketing fraud is a cold-hearted crime that preys on people's dreams of having a once-in-a lifetime experience - such as watching the greatest rugby competition in the world in England and Wales.

"As the National Policing Lead for Fraud we are ready to investigate any suspicious activity around the ticketing market for Rugby World Cup, be it in the production and sale of counterfeit tickets or the supply of tickets that simply do not exist.

"Anyone involved in these practices should not be surprised to receive a knock on their door before, during or after the tournament.

"And if you do fall victim to a scam it is very important that you report what has happened to Action Fraud.”

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