By Rachel Newman
There’s nothing like a big event to draw out scammers.
When it comes to a large or sold-out event, usually, your BBB is the first to warn you about ticket scams and scalper danger, as these are the types of scams that are most prevalent for sporting and music events. The Olympic Games, an event of international scope, doesn’t pose the same threats as a sold out Kenny Chesney concert, though.
This summer, with all eyes on London and high hopes for Team USA, your BBB is warning consumers to be wary of online scams that use Olympic-themed ploys to lure victims.
The Olympics is more tied to the Internet than ever before. Consumers can watch live from their computers, chat out the games through social media and enter legitimate contests online, as well. This connection through our online world, though, has given con artists the ability to take advantage of consumers through a number of online scams.
These scams mostly come in the form of spam messages, usually offering either a lottery or sweepstakes promotion. They can offer cash, prizes or even trips to the Olympics. They also often cite the names of large companies as backers or sponsors of the scam (ahem *promotion). McAfee reported last Friday that it had collected messages that referenced brands such as Coca Cola, Microsoft and Nokia.
While the terms of the scam appear different, and probably more appealing to many consumers to who are quite interested in the Olympics, the goal is unchanged. Scammers are using these spam emails to phish for consumer information or to trick consumers into paying into their scam.
According to ZDnet, victims have reported being asked to pay processing fees or transfer charges in order to cash in on the lottery that they have supposedly won. Scammers may ask for your bank routing number, or Driver’s License in order to complete the transaction.
Consumers should always exercise caution when dealing with lottery and sweepstakes claims, and keep in mind that all foreign lotteries are illegal in the United States.
In addition, if consumers are concerned about an email offer they received or have any questions, they can contact the San Diego BBB at 858.496.2131 or visit the BBB website.