The biggest athletic spectacle has begun and excitement will build as athletes excel and the U.S.A. medal count mounts. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York reminds consumers that while athletes compete for medals, scammers will compete for personal information and credit card numbers. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, can become dangerous for those seeking to support their countries’ if you let your guard down.
“The Olympics bring together the best athletes from around the world presenting lots of exciting headlines for scammers to follow,” said Warren Clark, BBB of Upstate New York President. “If it’s top of mind, ploys will follow. This world stage draws the attention of opportunistic people who will try to leverage the excitement and popularity for personal gain.”
BBB offers tips for supporting and enjoying the games safely from home:
Hang up on Olympic solicitations. “Official” representatives will not call to ask for donations or offer special merchandise; never give out credit card information or Social Security numbers to unsolicited callers. Protect your personal information at all times and do not share it unless you know and trust the caller.
Be cautious of bogus emails. Large phishing campaigns utilizing official names and logos are showing up in thousands of inboxes; never click on links or download attachments from unexpected emails. If the email seems urgent or claims a problem with an order – take matters into your own hands and call the company yourself to clarify.
Skip over sketchy mobile apps. Malicious mobile applications are on the rise and a quick search returns several “Olympics” apps; only choose official applications from the U.S. and make sure that privacy settings are strict.
Beware of counterfeit merchandise. If you’re one of the many who want to wear their pride and wear merchandise of respective countries, proceed with caution to avoid sites that offer too-good-to-be-true deals or sites that you cannot verify their origin. These sites may simply be gathering data for identity theft purposes. The primary source for official merchandise is www.sochi2014.com/en.
Consumers should know there will be many sites selling counterfeit Olympic Merchandise. Become acquainted with the Olympic brand and official logo. To purchase authentic Olympic merchandise, you can follow these steps:
- Shop on the official Olympic website: sochi2014.com for all of your Olympic needs.
- Don’t be alarmed if the page comes up in a foreign language, there is an English option on the top of the page.
- Click the keyword “Shop” and shop freely on the site.