5 June 2014

A major event such as the FIFA World Cup presents scammers with an opportunity to use its global appeal to target large numbers of people.

In recent weeks and months, fake World Cup ticketing websites have already emerged offering fake tickets and hosting malware.

As the World Cup begins, it is likely that there will be an increase in other types of scams and phishing activity trying to take advantage of its hype.

You should be on the lookout for emails and messages circulating on social media related to the world cup.

In past months we have issued Alerts about scammers targeting other significant events, the Royal Baby, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, and the Boston Bombings to name a few. Almost any well-known event is likely to attract a scammer’s attention.

The world cup ticket website scams have resulted in some victims losing money, and malware being installed on their computers. World Cup tickets are only sold through authorised dealers. FIFA provides clear instructions on how to obtain tickets legally and safely, and also warns that that scalped tickets (i.e. tickets sold second-hand) will not be accepted.

Staying safe

If you receive an unexpected and unsolicited email or message via social media about a popular event you should be suspicious.

Emails are an easy way for scammers to distribute malware and make contact with you.

If you reply to the message, you confirm your presence to the scammers.

Fortunately, some phishing emails include clues which give them away. These may be elements such as being from an unknown sender, not addressing you by name, featuring a strange design or vague information, containing spelling errors or poor use of English, or links to unfamiliar destination addresses.

They may seek your personal or financial information, asking you to confirm or verify your details, or reply to the message. Of course while clues might help your decision, they are not a guarantee.

You should trust your suspicions. Most reputable organisations will have predictable behaviour for how they communicate and deal with you.

Many organisations also state clearly on their website how they will and will not communicate with you. Some even provide examples of scams or emails their customers encounter, highlighting the differences between a legitimate message and the fakes.

If you receive a suspect email or message, do not reply, open attachments or click on links. Your best option is to simply delete it.

You can always navigate to the organisation’s website independently of links or details in the message and verify the information there.

More information

Stay Smart Online has more information on avoiding online scams and managing spam.

You can report spam to ACMA.

Trend Micro has more information on the FIFA World Cup scam websites, including a more recent update about sites targeting individual countries.

Feedback

Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.

Disclaimer

This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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