Cybercriminals looking to score with World Cup scams

footballer goal

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season this is always the peak time of year for scammers to try to fleece the unwary. But this year there's also the FIFA World Cup in Qatar to add to the mix.

Leaving aside the debate over whether the tournament should have been held in the Gulf state in the first place, researchers at Kaspersky have been looking at the scams aimed at stealing football (soccer for Americans) fans' identity and banking details.

Ticketing scams are the most common, offering tickets for sale or offering to buy them in an attempt to get hold of personal and payment information. Since legitimate tickets for the event are only being issued in digital form they are an attractive target for the scammers.

Of course the thing you need after a ticket is to actually get to the event. Kaspersky experts have found numerous phishing pages imitating airline services offering tickets to Doha. The analyzed webpages show all the classic signs of a scam -- nice appearance, poor spelling, a freshly registered domain, and limited functionality of the site.

Giveaways are another common lure -- as in the example below -- users clicking the link will of course 'win' but will then be asked to pay a 'delivery charge'. There are fake World Cup related merchandise stores too offering another opportunity to hand cash to fraudsters.

Researchers have also spotted scams relating to crypto and NFTs. Some of these offer to make a bet on a match in order to win cryptocurrency, others to win related NFT art. Of course they really want you to part with your crypto wallet details.

"Major sports events always attract the attention of cybercriminals," says Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky. "With this World Cup, scammers got very creative, as we have observed a variety of fraudulent schemes employed. We see how they are trying to benefit most from the situation and exploit as many trendy topics as possible, including a growing number of NFT scams related to the World Cup. At the same time, there are many so-called traditional scams out there from giveaways and fake tickets to merch stores. These schemes are simple, yet, effective and is why such fraudulent pages are eternal companions of big events. We encourage users to be attentive when they receive offers that seem too good to be true and carefully check the validity of the messages they receive."

You can read more and get tips for staying safe on the Kaspersky site.

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