The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, may prove dangerous for those seeking to support their countries’ medal hopefuls. Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that while athletes compete for medals, scammers compete for personal information and credit card numbers.
“The Olympics bring together the best athletes from around the world in the name of human competition,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But such a large event, on the world stage, draws the attention of opportunistic people who will try to leverage the popularity for personal gain.”
BBB offers tips for supporting and enjoying the games safely from home:
- Hang up on Olympic employees. “Official” representatives will not call to ask for donations or offer special merchandise; never give out credit card information or Social Security numbers to unsolicited callers.
- Beware of counterfeit merchandise. The primary source for official merchandise is sochi2014.com/en; avoid sites that offer too-good-to-be-true deals as they may simply be gathering data for identity theft purposes.
- Be cautious of bogus emails. Large phishing campaigns utilizing official names and logos are showing up in thousands of inboxes; never click on links or download attachments from unexpected emails.
- Don’t fall for fake news articles and press releases. With 100 countries represented in 15 different sports over two weeks, breaking news and updates will occur continuously; be skeptical of sensational headlines or announcements that encourage readers to visit foreign websites.
- Skip over sketchy mobile apps. Malicious mobile applications are on the rise and a quick search returns several “Olympics” apps; only choose official applications and make sure that privacy settings are strict.
BBB is proud to support the Olympic athletes in their quests for gold, proud to support consumers in their quests for reliable businesses, and proud to support businesses in their quests to uphold honesty and integrity in the marketplace.