Avoid Super Bowl Scam

With any big sporting event comes the opportunity for thieves to take advantage of desperate fans. This rings true with the upcoming Super Bowl match between the Packers and the Steelers (appropriately named, but incorrectly spelled for this post on theft). Whether you watch the game for the fun commercials or to root for your new favorite team (sorry, Broncos), we can all agree that Super Bowl Sunday is almost a national holiday. With any holiday comes predators looking to take advantage of distracted and unsuspecting fans.

Here are a few Super Bowl themed scams that you should be aware of:

Fake Tickets. According to the NFL, in recent years, between 100 and 250 football fans have shown up to Super Bowl games with bogus tickets. Before booking a hotel room and hopping on a plane to Dallas make sure that you have legitimate tickets to the big game.

Michelle Reinen, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection says, “Actual Super Bowl tickets are printed on thick, heavy paper with bar-codes, holograms and raised ink. In addition, the NFL says the tickets include heat sensitive logos that disappear with the touch of a thumb.”

Phony Sweepstakes. Avoid clicking on Super Bowl sweepstakes offers, which may feature trips to the big game or other related prizes. These e-mails could be part of a larger scam to get you to fork over funds for a chance at tickets, or scammers could be enticing you to click on a link that will download malware or other viruses onto your computer.

Treat these emails as you would any suspicious email and delete it from your inbox. Never click on unknown links.

Travel Scams. Looking to score big on a Super Bowl travel package? Be careful, because scam artists love to dream up new tricks for major sporting events. People traveling to Dallas for the game should book their travel accommodations carefully. When big games are in the works, people will often find offers that charge hidden fees for items, like tickets, that they thought were included. They may also not be booking you into the exact hotel you think you are getting. Instead of staying at the Lowes Arlington, you find yourself at their sister property in Amarillo. Book hotels directly through the hotel, or if you go through Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire or Expedia, call the hotel after the reservation is made to verify what you are getting.

My biggest tip to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to Be Skeptical. If an offer seems to good to be true, it probably is. Question everything and get verification to make sure that your Super Bowl Plans go as smooth as possible.

John Sileo is the award-winning author of the fraud prevention book Privacy Means Profit and speaks on information offense, identity theft prevention and data breach avoidance. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more, contact him directly on 800.258.8076.