As the opening ceremony to the London 2012 Olympics gets closer, online crooks are sporting all types of scams and schemes to get your money.
Scammers have using the upcoming 2012 summer games as a lure for years now; in the most recent case, researchers at Trend Micro spotted an email claiming to offer an exclusive opening or closing "Ceremony package." The message is titled, simply, "Win tickets to the 2012 London Olympics."
The once-in-a-lifetime deal, the email promises, includes an all-expense-paid trip to London, accommodations at a four-star hotel and two Visa prepaid cards. The image in the email shows a supposed Olympian holding two tickets, the official London Olympics logo and a message reading, "Let the celebrations begin!" The Olympic getaway package appears to be sponsored by Visa.
To claim the "ceremony package," users are told to click on a link, but, as Trend Micro says, "the said offer is nonexistent," and following the prompts will most likely end with users being asked to enter personal information that can be leveraged by the crooks.
Trend Micro spotted another fraudulent Olympics scam, this one coming in the form of a Microsoft Word document titled "Early Check-In 2012 London Olympics.doc." The file, when downloaded, drops several pieces of malware on victims' computers.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
This is not the first London Olympics-themed scam, and it certainly won't be the last. Worldwide events like the Olympics bring scammers out of the woodwork, and they’ll be out in full force even after the summer games are finished. Don't let your excitement over the event cloud your judgment: A stranger on the street isn't going to hand you free tickets to the Olympics, so why would a stranger online?
If you receive unsolicited emails promising anything free or exclusive or once-in-a-lifetime, ignore them, and make sure you have anti-virus software on your computer to protect you.