Cybercriminals using fake Olympic ticket offers are stepping up their attacks to dupe unsuspecting consumers.
In the first week since Olympic authorities began taking money from peoples’ accounts for seats at the 2012 London Games, more than 1,500 fraudulent web links were discovered by internet security firm Norton.
The cyber experts also found a range of fake confirmation emails pretending to show that the recipients of the messages had been awards tickets for the eagerly-awaited London showpiece event. This type of email fraud is known as phishing.
Norton has warned people should be increasingly vigilant between now and the end of the payment withdrawal period next month to avoid being scammed by crooks trying to win a gold medal for fraud.
Always Check the Details
Simon Ellson, of Norton, said: “Those who have been lucky enough to secure tickets may not have the money deducted from their account immediately, as this could happen anytime before June 10 2011.
“Cybercriminals could use this window to put fraudulent transactions through people’s accounts, reliant on individuals not checking the details.
“If you’ve applied for tickets, make sure you regularly check your bank statement, particularly over the next couple of weeks while waiting for the official Olympics to withdraw payment.”
He added: “Do not respond to any emails asking for additional bank details in order to secure 2012 Olympic tickets and never enter your personal details on a site that isn’t secured.”
Mr Ellson advises web surfers should contact The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, otherwise known as LOCOG, if they’re in any doubt about messages they receive by email.
Sensitive Information at Risk
Scammers often use big key events such as the deaths of celebrities or natural disasters to hide viruses in email messages or on fake websites.
They can then be silently downloaded to a computer without the owner knowing and be used to search for personal details, banking passwords and other sensitive data.
In this latest attack, search terms such as “London 2012 stadium diagram” and “London 2012 stadium seating chart” are being used by cybercrooks to lure surfers to unofficial or infected websites.
The fake confirmation emails could also appear as if they are legitimate to those eagerly awaiting news about their applications. They come from an address stating 2012 London Olympics and show how much the tickets being awarded will cost in total.
There is then a phone number, email address or website within the message that the recipient is asked to get in touch with to claim the tickets.
Top Tips to Avoid Phishing
- Always double check the source of an email if you’re in doubt about how authentic it is. Ring your bank directly and ask them. it could save you a fortune.
- Never respond to emails asking you for passwords or personal data. No major company or financial institutions would ask you for sensitive details in this way.
- When filling in any form clicked to from a link, check it has https:// at the beginning and the padlock symbol to show it is secure.
- Don’t believe everything you read. If an emailed offer seems to good to be true, it usually is.
- Be wary of messages you’ve received, even when they appear to come from a friend or if the email address seems a genuine company one. Phishing emails often contain spelling mistakes, bad grammar and punctuation or have names and places spelt out wrong.