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Don’t get rugby tackled by scammers 

Stay ahead of the game and don’t let scammers score a try at the Rugby World Cup with these safety tips.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup has begun and, just like a high-stakes match, fans are scrambling to secure their tickets for this epic event in France. But amid the excitement and anticipation, there is a darker game unfolding. 

Cybercriminals lurking in the shadows are ready to intercept unsuspecting fans searching for last-minute deals. They exploit the eagerness, the hunger for a bargain, and the fear of missing out on the sporting spectacle of the year. Like skilled opponents on the field, they deceive, manipulate, and exploit, leaving innocent fans caught in their web of phishing, fraud, and scams.

In this arena of online deception, the tactics employed by these cybercriminals resemble a strategic play, says Anna Collard, SVP of content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa. They deploy targeted adverts, cunningly embedded with malicious code, tempting fans with the allure of discounted tickets. They also employ fake websites masquerading as free streaming services, enticing fans to click, only to be ensnared in a digital maze of deceit.

“As fans prepare to enter the digital stadium of ticket sales and streaming sites, it is crucial that they develop a keen sense of discernment,” says Collard. “Just like a skilled player who can spot a fake pass from a mile away, fans must learn to distinguish between genuine ticket vendors and fraudulent websites.”

This year, there is only one official website where fans can buy tickets for the various matches. “Often, people are unaware that there are websites that look very much like the real thing,” warns Collard. “Not only will they sell you a fake ticket, but they will use the financial information you enter to scam you further.”

Driven by emotion

When people are hunting for bargains or trying to plan how they are going to view an event, they are overwhelmingly driven by emotion. Cybercriminals take advantage of this vulnerability, says Collard. The happy, excited, stressed or worried consumer hunting for a deal because they forgot to buy tickets earlier, or the consumer who suddenly decided they want to go watch the match live, are the perfect victims. “People make mistakes when they are overwhelmed with emotion. You should always check the URL of the website before you enter your details to pay for anything online.”

Check the company’s credentials before providing any personal information. Double-check the payment portal they use to ensure its legitimacy. Quickly Googling reviews of the site should also prominently mention if it is actually a scam. However, if you fall into the trap and enter your sensitive banking details, contact your bank immediately. Inform your bank about the situation to stop any unauthorised payments and cancel the card you used for the transaction.

Watching the games ‘for free’

The other concern that directly affects South African fans is figuring out where they can watch the games on television. Aside from going to a bar or restaurant, the only other option is to subscribe to an expensive satellite service. “The quest for a free option to watch the games from home opens the door to a different kind of threat,” explains Collard. “Many of these supposedly free streaming sites are infested with malware, immediately putting users at risk. Some of these fraudulent sites even ask for your credit card details and personal information under the guise of granting access to the stream, only to provide no stream whatsoever.”

Cybercriminals are capitalising on the rising cost of satellite services, effectively exploiting the desires of rugby fans to follow the matches in real time. These fake streaming sites are meticulously designed to appear genuine, making it incredibly easy for unsuspecting individuals to lower their guard and fall victim to scams.

“As the Rugby World Cup 2023 charges forward, stay ahead of the game and avoid being tackled by deceptive streaming sites or ticket sale scams,” says Collard concludes. “Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true and streaming services that promise effortless access but demand excessive personal information. Always verify the legitimacy of websites before clicking on any links. Cybercrime remains at an all-time high, especially in South Africa. Keep your defences strong and play smart.”

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