Kaspersky Warns About Rise of Digital Scams at Qatar 2022 World Cup
By Adedapo Adesanya
With the FIFA World Cup tournament three days away, a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, Kaspersky, has uncovered that scammers and cybercriminals are trying to monetise football fans’ interest.
Kaspersky experts analysed World Cup-related phishing websites from around the globe designed to steal users’ identifying and banking data and found fake pages offering everything from tickets or event merch to match streaming services, plus numerous giveaways and NFT scams exploiting the World Cup.
The firm warned that since Qatar 2022 is only offering digital tickets, it increases the risk of fans running into malicious resources. Kaspersky experts discovered numerous phishing pages offering to buy tickets for FIFA matches.
They warned that users would lose personal data, banking details, and money, adding that scammers may also use the stolen data for other purposes or sell it on the Dark Web.
Kaspersky experts also found phishing pages offering fans the opportunity to win two tickets to the World Cup. This is quite popular where usually each user becomes a ‘lucky’ winner, with the chosen ones only needing to pay a delivery fee, thereby making them vulnerable to theft.
The outfit warned that another way to steal users’ data is via fake FIFA-related merchandise stores, after which, entering data and transferring money to make a purchase, fans lose their cash to fraudsters instead.
Another distinctive feature of the threat landscape ahead of the 2022 World Cup has been the active spread of various crypto scams, mostly exploiting the popularity of NFTs.
“Some offer to make a bet on a match and win cryptocurrency, others to win worldwide related NFT art. All the user needs to do is enter crypto wallet credentials, so the ‘prize’ transfers directly. In such a scenario, scammers gain access to all savings and related wallet data,” Kaspersky warned.
Another scheme is crypto investment fraud which is a bright example of a dubious investment. Fraudsters actively create real coins and convince a user to invest in them while promising the victim potential currency growth. In real life, such initiatives are almost never a success, as users have spent money on something that will never develop.
Kaspersky also noted that flights and accommodations scams are also on the rise.
The firm noted that “Pandemic imposed limitations will also see the 2022 World Cup stage many offline events with live viewers, involving thousands of tourists in Qatar – something scammers have not missed.”
Kaspersky experts have observed numerous phishing pages imitating airline services offering tickets to Doha. The analysed webpage shows all the classic signs of a scam – nice appearance, wrong spelling, freshly registered domain, and limited functionality of the site.
Although the site mimics a global airfare aggregator, the user can only choose Qatar in the list of destination countries. Once flight details are entered, the victim is offered the chance to enter personal data along with ID and credit information.
Speaking on these novel means, Olga Svistunova, a security expert at Kaspersky, said, “Major sports events always attract the attention of cybercriminals. With this World Cup, scammers got very creative, as we have observed a variety of fraudulent schemes employed. We see how they are trying to benefit most from the situation and exploit as many trendy topics as possible, including a growing number of NFT scams related to the World Cup.
“At the same time, there are many so-called traditional scams out there, from giveaways and fake tickets to merch stores. These schemes are simple yet, effective, and that is why such fraudulent pages are eternal companions of big events.
“We encourage users to be attentive when they receive offers that seem too good to be true and carefully check the validity of the messages they receive,” he noted.
Advising on preventive measures, Kaspersky warned users to preview any link they might want to use, consider irregularities, and ensure they use a reliable security solution.