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World Cup ticketing scams on the rise

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

As the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, a UK fraud prevention service has warned fans about ticketing scams, among a raft of other fraudulent activity.

In its latest scams update, fraud prevention service Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning football fans that scammers are using the World Cup as a cover for extracting cash.

Cifas said it had has seen a sharp rise in ticketing scams, including fake ticket lotteries offering cash prizes or hospitality packages distributed through phishing texts and emails.

In addition, there has also been a rise in fake websites purporting to be the official World Cup website.

It advised fans to be cautious of unsolicited emails claiming they have won tickets, and to never click on links included in these emails.

It noted that recipients could report suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Twitter and Facebook scams

Meanwhile, Cifas has also warned Twitter users to be wary of messages from ‘checkmark accounts’, in which scammers impersonate well-known travel companies in an attempt to deceive customers into handing over their personal and financial details.

In addition, it noted that a grant scam has also been circulating on Facebook specifically targeting people struggling with the cost of living. Users are being contacted directly by a Facebook friend who has had their account hacked, sending them a link to apply for financial aid through a ‘National Community Grant’.

Cifas said people should never click on any links sent via messaging apps as they may be downloading malicious malware designed to steal information.

Black Friday could be Black ‘Fraud-day’

The public are also warned to watch out for Black Friday fraud. Cifas said shoppers should carefully check the website addresses of ecommerce and retail sites.

It noted that many genuine retailers were offering early access to sales, with criminals capitalising on this to create spoofed websites designed to trick shoppers into handing over personal and financial details to unsafe websites or charging them for items that never arrive.

Red flags include slightly mis-spelled brand names, or basic-looking fonts and colour schemes. Phishing campaigns for sale deals are also circulating, designed to encourage consumers into clicking unsafe links.

‘Hopeful ticket purchasers are being targeted’

Amber Burridge, head of intelligence at Cifas, said: “With the festive season approaching and household budgets remaining squeezed, criminals continue to deceive members of the public struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

“In the first nine months of 2022, over 210,800 cases of identity fraud were recorded to the National Fraud Database, a 34% rise from last year. It accounts for the majority of fraud cases.

“Hopeful ticket purchasers for the World Cup and 2023 concerts are being targeted, as well as social media users looking for help with rising prices. [And] Black Friday is also being used by fraudsters as an opportunity to scam people out of their hard-earned cash.”

Burridge added: “People are advised to stop and think carefully before responding to unsolicited emails or phone calls and challenge requests to part with your personal or financial details. Criminals will try to use a sense of urgency to discomfort you, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.”

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.