World Cup and Black Friday ‘seen by scammers as opportunities to strike’

A sharp rise in ticketing scams has been recorded by a fraud prevention service as the World Cup gets under way.

Cifas said scams they are seeing include fake ticket lotteries offering cash prizes, or “hospitality packages” distributed through phishing texts and emails.

They urged football fans to be cautious if they receive unsolicited emails claiming they have won tickets, and to never click on links included in these emails.

Doing so runs the risk of downloading malware designed to steal personal and financial information.

And with Black Friday approaching on November 25, people are also being warned to watch out for spoof websites designed to trick consumers into handing over personal and financial details.

Red flags include slightly mis-spelled brand names, or basic-looking fonts and colour schemes. Phishing campaigns for sale deals are also circulating, designed to encourage consumers into clicking unsafe links, Cifas said.

Suspect emails can be reported to report@phishing.gov.uk and to Action Fraud.

Amber Burridge, head of intelligence for Cifas, said: “Hopeful ticket purchasers for the World Cup and 2023 concerts are being targeted, as well as social media users looking for help with rising prices.

“Black Friday is also being used by fraudsters as an opportunity to scam people out of their hard-earned cash, and mobile phone customers are subject to increasingly sophisticated scams.”

Lisa Webb, Which? consumer law expert, said: “Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to part people from their hard-earned cash and unfortunately, the Black Friday sales and World Cup are no exception.

“Scammers can easily set up fake websites, so if you see a good offer from a company you don’t know during the Black Friday sales, look online for reviews and do your research to make sure it’s genuine. Deals that look too good to be true often are.

“You should also be wary of any email or text messages out of the blue claiming you’ve won World Cup tickets – don’t click on any links or give any personal information.

“If you think you’ve paid money to a scammer, you should report this to your bank and Action Fraud. You may be able to claim back your money through the chargeback scheme if you used a debit card or use a Section 75 claim if you paid by credit card and the value was more than £100.”