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Five World Cup scams to watch out for online

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Stuart Fuller is from NetNames and editor of Theballisround.co.uk. He says NetNames has already seen an increase in online scams targeting fans in the build-up to the World Cup and predicts there’s more to come. These are the top five online rip-offs that NetNames say you should keep an eye out for…

  1. Fraudulent tickets – Although 2.3 million legitimate tickets have already been allocated via FIFA.com, the exclusive sales platform for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a simple search for the term “Brazil World Cup tickets” on Google provides over 38 million results. Among these search results, NetNames research uncovered thousands of fraudulent ticket listings, with prices ranging from £180 for Brazil vs. Mexico in the first round of the group stage, to £2,370 for the final on 13th July. Some organisations with no official link to FIFA or the organising committee state that they can “provide authentic tickets for all games” or “guarantee best tickets”.
  2. Fake England strip – England’s latest kit deal with Nike, worth approximately £25 million per year, is the second most valuable sponsorship deal ever. The England World Cup shirt was revealed the first week of April, with a price tag of £90. Within hours, counterfeit shirts started appearing on marketplace sites, selling for just a fraction of the price. Some of these online marketplace sellers offer quantities in excess of 100 units at a time.
  3. Apps – This year’s World Cup will see more fans access information via their smartphone than ever before. FIFA has an official app that is free for users, but a simple search on some of the major app stores reveals a host of unofficial apps that could be dangerous for fans. For example, the “Fifa World Cup 2014 Live Match” app features official colours and logos and appears to illegally stream matches live. Users need to be cautious as rogue mobile apps are capable of infecting devices with viruses and can also access personal data.
  4. Dubious sponsor websites – Online security company Symantec has already highlighted a number of websites that have been designed to look like official FIFA World Cup Sponsor sites, aiming to trick users into handing over personal details in return for big prizes. “Right now, spammers are reliant on the massive wave of excitement and expectation that typically surrounds an event like the FIFA World Cup,” said Paul Wood, senior analyst at Symantec. This threat does not end at a phony webpage and browsers could also end up being spammed by pop-ups, texts or ticket lotteries.
  5. Betting sites – One of the most popular traditions of the World Cup is betting, whether on the winning team, top goal scorer or individual match outcomes. Most fans will probably be using the mainstream betting companies to place their bets, but some may be lured by other alternatives. For example, Bit on Soccer allows fans to bet and win Bitcoins – the unregulated virtual currency. Other sites, such as FIFA Now’s betting ‘tool’, appear to have no relation with football’s international organising body.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.

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