Olympic Games Related Scams

Two very common Olympic scams are:

Trip and Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams
With this year’s Winter Olympics occurring in PyeongChang, South Korea, it is a bit pricey to head over to view the Games in person. Scammers commonly send phishing emails during and leading up to Olympic Games identifying the recipient of the email as the winner of a sweepstakes or lottery for tickets to the Games and travel arrangements. You just have to pay a “fee” or “tax” first and provide a few details… maybe including your Social Security Number or credit card number. Whether they seek your payment information to take your money or your personally identifiable information for identity theft, these notices are always false and should be avoided, as you cannot win a lottery that you have not entered!

Olympic Merchandise Offers

As with lots of other events, there will be Olympic merchandise for sale so you can display your pride and support your favorite athletes. This is great, just be careful where you buy from as you may receive emails or see online advertisements enticing you to purchase fraudulent or counterfeit items from less than reputable vendors. At best, by clicking on these advertisements and offers you will open yourself to the risk of purchasing counterfeit merchandise and at the worst, you open yourself to the risk of having your payment information or identity stolen. Display your team pride by ignoring these suspicious offers and purchasing your merchandise through a known, trusted, and authorized retailer.

It’s also a good idea to make all online purchases through an alternative or more secure payment system, such as Visa Checkout, Mastercard Securecode, or PayPal. Otherwise consider using one credit card (not a debit card!) for all online purchases. As always, remember to look for the “HTTPS” in the URL and the little lock icon in the browser bar to ensure your communication with the trusted vendor is safe. If you don’t see these, don’t submit sensitive information to that website. Lastly, remember to always make your purchases on a trusted, secure network, never through public, unsecured Wi-Fi.

We hope you safely enjoy the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Go Team USA!

This information was provided in the MS-ISAC Monthly Security Tips Newsletter. It is intended to increase the security awareness of an organization's end users and to help them behave in a more secure manner within their work environment.