This Sunday, American NFL football fans will be gathering in restaurants, sports bars and living rooms around the world to watch the Super Bowl XLV showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Some of us will be there for the party atmosphere and to watch the over-the-top commercials. Since Super Bowl Sunday is basically a national holiday, you can be guaranteed that cybercrooks are in a celebratory mood as well.
As you prepare for your own festivities, don’t get too distracted and let your guard down. Online thieves as well as real life pickpockets, burglars and scam artists are ready to take advantage of you.
Beware of fake tickets
If you are attending the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas, you should have already purchased your tickets through Ticketmaster, the NFL Ticket Exchange or another reliable third party ticket vendor. If you stumble upon a last minute, too-good-to-be-true deal on seats, then most likely you’re being swindled.
The NFL explains how to tell a fake ticket from the real deal. Make sure you have installed the Web of Trust safe surfing add-on to help you identify untrustworthy sites.
Practice safe betting
Money will be exchanging hands in hopes for a big win at the Super Bowl. From office pools to sports betting, be aware of scams that can lead to identity theft. Many online betting sites claim to be well-established and well-respected businesses, and legitimate online gambling sites run a tight ship when it comes to online security and anti-fraud software and features. But some are just fly-by-night operations and they are in the business to make a quick buck. Only use sites you know, or those that have been recommended by trusted friends. Make sure to check WOT ratings before placing any bets.
Don’t be a sucker for sweepstakes
E-mails promising sweepstakes chances at a fantastical football weekend or dream seats on the 50 yard line are making the rounds. Don’t be tempted to click on the links. These e-mails are likely part of a larger scheme to steal your hard-earned dough for a chance at tickets, or scammers could be enticing you to click on a link that will contaminate your computer with malware or other viruses.
The WOT add-on shows you reputation ratings next to links when you use Gmail, Yahoo! mail and Windows Live Hotmail. If you use another email service, check out any suspicious web addresses on our website. A "Check a website’s reputation" box is on the top right of every page.
Double check travel deals
In addition to bogus tickets and phony sweepstakes, Pennsylvania Attorney General Bill Ryan warns fans traveling to Dallas for the game to book their travel carefully. “It is important for football fans to carefully review the details of any ticket offer or travel promotion before handing over cash or credit card information,” Ryan said. “Scam artists are counting on the fact that enthusiastic fans will get caught up in the excitement of the Super Bowl and will not be as attentive as they should be."
When booking online, use WOT so you will know which travel websites are authentic and which are scams. Make sure you confirm the location and quality of hotels, and use your credit card instead of cash, check or debit card to pay for the package, since credit cards give you more protection.
Report the scam
If you run into these or related scams, make sure you share your warning with other WOT users by rating the website and adding a comment on the site’s scorecard. You can also report them to the proper authorities. Cybercrimes can be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center,or you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.