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Digital Citizen, Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. We're as excited as anyone to see the New England Patriots face off against the Seattle Seahawks. However, the Super Bowl is also prime time for scams, cyber crime, and even human trafficking.

Whether you plan on watching the game at home or are trying to score tickets to the big game, there are some things you should keep in mind to ensure you don't become a victim of the online dark side of the Super Bowl.

  • Counterfeit ticket scams. Perhaps the most obvious scam, many counterfeiters use Super Bowl season as an opportunity to take advantage of die-hard fans trying to find last-minute tickets. That’s why the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers this year about the very real danger of ticket fraud.


  • Cyber crime. While this piece from Time is a little dated, the message is just as relevant this year—if not more so. With the rise of digital advertising, cyber criminals are using the increased amount of online traffic to target unsuspecting Internet users with malware hidden in “free” games or videos posted on Super Bowl-related sites. Even worse, some cyber criminals dupe users into revealing personal information, which can lead to identity theft.



  • Human sex trafficking. It’s uncomfortable to talk about, but as we pointed out last year, the Super Bowl also provides cover for one of the worst kinds of cyber crime: human sex trafficking. A major percentage of this illicit industry is now happening on the Internet, fueled by escort ads that appear on YouTube, often featuring underage sex workers operating overseas.


We don’t want to ruin your Super Bowl Sunday; in fact, our hope is to see the Super Bowl become an even better event where everyone can celebrate safely with family and friends, whether they’re celebrating at home, online, or at the game. And we can’t realize that hope unless we shine a light on the bad actors who take advantage of the innocent and unsuspecting.

So, please, be aware of the risks—both online and offline—and make sure your family and friends are aware, too. Like the scams that surround March Madness, avoiding becoming a victim just takes a little extra vigilance, caution, and common sense. And we can all root for a world in which crimes like those above no longer taint the traditions and celebrations we all hold dear.

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