NCAA Basketball Tournament Opens Up New Possibilities for Scammers

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 25, 2021

The stronger the buzz around an event, the higher the chances of scammers to bait people on their malicious hooks. McAfee has published a warning post for all basketball fans in the USA, advising on a series of risks. The currently ongoing “March Madness” NCAA Basketball tournament has sports fans engaged on their screens to watch the games, betting on gambling websites, and searching for tickets to attend the games from up close. All of this opens up enormous potential for cybercriminals, as they can take advantage of the fans’ passion for the game and their teams, driving them to bet on fake websites, buy counterfeit tickets, and visit “free streaming” websites that infect them with malware.

Starting with the tickets, the scammers who sell counterfeit ones have designed them to look exactly like the real thing. One detail that will give them away is the fact that they all feature the same barcode, but of course, you’ll not figure this out before you buy two of those fake billets. The disappointment of being refused access right at the stadium game is one of the greatest ones can experience, so beware of last-minute sales, especially those that have “too good to be true” prices. If you need to buy a ticket at the last moment, you’d better try your luck at the venue’s booths.

The next problem is the online betting, which is estimated to reach a total amount of $8.5 billion until the end of the NCAA 2019 tournament. From mimicked betting websites to card information stealing snippets of code that have infected reputable gambling websites. If you want to wager, verify the legitimacy of the website before you provide any information for the creation of your account. One clear indication that something is wrong with a gambling site is the absence of strict regulations like age restrictions, and the lack of a contact information section.

Finally, the game streaming scammers are tricking basketball fans into downloading “players” that will supposedly allow them to watch the games for free (or not). The player app, however, is nothing else than a piece of nasty malware or ransomware, so instead of enjoying the hoops, you’ll end up reading ransom notes. If you want to stay safe against this type of attacks, just abstain from downloading anything from “free streaming” sites. In addition to this practice, use an up to date and robust anti-virus/anti-malware solution. There are specific platforms that legitimately offer streams of NCAA games, so you’d better pick on of them instead and enjoy the games without worries.

Are you planning to stream, buy tickets, or bet on NCAA games? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and help us spread the word on the risks by sharing this post through our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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