The 2012London Olympics are here and millions all over the world will spend allseventeen days on the edge of their seats cheering on their country. From themoment the Opening Ceremony begins, excitement sweeps the nation andunfortunately, so does Olympic scams.
Reflectingback on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was reported they were on the receivingend of 12 million online attacks per day, and thisyear’s Olympics can count on receiving just as many or even more. In fact, officialsat the 2012 Summer Olympics have already reported 124 known scams so far, most targeting enthusiastic consumers.Some of their hooks include:
'Coca Cola London 2012 OlympicGames Promotions'- The email contains a letter claiming to be from The Coca Cola London 2012Olympic Games Promotions which tells the recipient that they won an email drawing.The letter invites the recipient to fill in an application form and promises apayment through an online transfer. It’s a scam.
‘2012 London Olympic Promotion’ or ‘Claim Your Prize’ - The recipient receives an email purporting tobe from a person who claims to be the ‘London Olympic Cash Officer’ for London2012, stating that the recipient was selected at random to receive a cash prizeof $1,650,000. To receive the payment, they have to submit their personal bankaccount information to an email provided. It’s a scam.
‘Free Tickets’ or ‘Olympic Weekly Drawing’ – The email informs the recipient that dueto their company’s working partnership with the Olympics - they’ve been offereda number of complimentary tickets for the London Olympics closing ceremony. Theemail explains availability is limited and the offer expires in two days. Therecipient is required to click the attachment for registration. It’s a scam.
Consumersare advised to keep a close eye on these email offers and others. BBB remindsconsumers not to respond, provide any personal details or pay any money to thepeople who send the email. Spammers will follow the Olympic headlines andcontinue to send emails suggesting you have “won” free memorabilia and evendirect consumers to malicious Olympic-related websites through emails which maypretend to be official Olympic-related communications. If you receive an emailthat looks fishy, don’t click on any links and make sure to delete the emailand run a virus scan immediately.
Spoof websites can go up one day, and disappear the next. BBB recommends you check fortrustworthy businesses before you click or buy at bbb.org. Consumer should know if they don’tsee the padlock icon or an “s” in the http’s’ URL address it could besuspicious and not to enter any personal or financial information.
“As Olympic fever grows peoplewill be looking for ways to get in on the action, find memorabilia and perhaps,last minute tickets to the Olympics,” said Warren Clark, Better Business Bureau President. “But consumers needto be alert and ensure they’re dealing with legitimate, authorized partners ofthe Olympics to avoid being scammed.”
BBB alerts consumersto these active scams and offers tips to avoid getting ripped off.
Trojan Virus. The email looks like a London 2012 press release. Ifyou click on it and don’t have virus and malware protection, the email will tryto download a Trojan horse virus designed to steal information when you accesstheir online banks and e-commerce websites. Consumers are reminded thatcommunication from the officialLondon 2012 volunteer and supporter emails are always sent from one of thefollowing addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
Lottery/Sweepstakes. Security software company, McAfee, is warningconsumers about a common scam saying that you’ve won a sizable amount of money askingyou to send details like your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.in order to claim your prize. Some of the offers even display the logos ofthe IOC, the London 2012 Games, and the UK National Lottery. BBB recommends consumersdo their own independent web search to find out more about the company or go tobbb.org.
Ticket Scams. Tickets for the London games are only available through theofficial website and their appointed ticketing partners. If you receive offersfrom other sources, they are either selling illegally or selling fake tickets. TheU.S. Olympic Committee says a recent email is telling Team USA fans ticketsto upcoming games have been charged to their account, then directs the fans toa Team USA web site to dispute charges. The website, however, is fake and thescammers are looking for your money and personal information. The Committee has advised fans not to giveout either. If you’re buyingLondon 2012 tickets you can use the unauthorized web site ticket checker before you click!
Job Scams. Scam emails and letters are informing the public thatthey can apply for a job that is directly involved with the Games …but for afee. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from London 2012 sayingthey can help you gain a position beware - especially if you are asked formoney upfront.
What can you do if you receive asuspicious Olympic offer?
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from London2012 saying they are authorized by or connected to London 2012, or claiming theycan help you gain a connection with the Games, BBB recommends you take proper stepsto ensure they are legitimate, particularly if they’re asking you to pay themany money. If you have any doubt, contact London 2012.