Sports fans are being urged to be on the lookout for scams in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Rio, which start on Friday.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, says it has already received nearly 50 reports of fraud relating to the games, with victims losing a total of £299,935 to criminals.
Most of the fraudulent activity has so far been related to ticket scams, either through people attempting to buy non-existent tickets or through lottery scams used to gather targets’ personal data.
Some victims believed they were securing last-minute ticket for the games in Brazil, only to find that the tickets did not exist and they have been left out of pocket. Action Fraud warns that people should always be wary of buying tickets at the last minute and should only go through authorised sellers, a list of which can be found here.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith said: “It is absolutely key that everyone is wary of the fraudsters who are clearly using an iconic sporting event to exploit innocent victims.If people are thinking about buying last minute tickets, they should be particularly careful about where they buy them and it is crucial that they check the genuine seller list published by the Olympic organisers.
Criminals have also been operating lottery scams to gather banking and other details from victims. Targets have received emails or letters telling them they have won a trip to the Games along with a cash prize, courtesy of the event’s organisers.
Pauline Smith warned: “People who think they may have been lucky enough to have won tickets through a lottery should be wary and always protect themselves by asking simple questions around whether or not they have entered in the lottery in the first place.
“If you have not entered a lottery then you cannot have won it. Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity, if they ask you to keep your win a secret; it is likely to be a fraud.”