Rio 2016: Criminals Go For Gold With Olympic Ticket Scams

Kaspersky Lab report warns against Olympic tickets that seem too good to be true

Cyber criminals are capitalising on growing Olympic fever ahead of Rio 2016 by targeting sports fans with fake ticket scams, according to a report from Kaspersky Labs.

Many of the scams concern fake tickets and merchandise, but malware-laden spam emails and phishing attacks that could steal payment details were also highlighted by the company as risks.

Fool’s gold

ukraineKaspersky Lab said that it first began spotting Olympics-related scam emails back in 2015, but the numbers have increased in recent months now the games are just 100 days away.

It reports that the most frequent topic of these emails is fake lottery wins for the ticket lottery organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Brazilian Government, as the scammers look to convince victims that their email address has been chosen randomly from a large list.

However, in order to receive their prize, the victim must reply to the email and provide personal information, which leads to their details then being taken and sold on.

Kaspersky Lab has also warned that the websites are often extremely well made, using cheap SSL certificates to provide “https” web addresses, making it harder for users to distinguish fake pages from the official Olympic ticketing services.

“It’s no surprise that cybercriminals are using the Olympic Games as a ploy to extort money and personal information from unsuspecting recipients,” warned David Mole, head of retail, UK at Kaspersky Lab.

“What’s more, beyond phishing emails, cybercriminals are creating fake sites, disguised as legitimate ones. The creation of these sites is normally carried out by gangs, which split individual tasks among each other. For example, one group may be responsible for setting up the fake website’s domain, and the other may be responsible for creating the actual website.”

The firm is urging users to only buy tickets from recognised retailers, and to exercise caution when passing over payment or contract details.

Are you an Internet security expert? Take our quiz to find out!