Around 11pm South African time on Wednesday night millions of fans will know which two teams will contest the final of the 2010 World Cup. The next few days will see a surge of online activity as fans look to gain one of the most sought after prizes in sport – a ticket to the final. The majority, however, will be disappointed.
Fifa has announced that a limited number of tickets to the final will be made available at official ticketing centres over the next few days and has issued its strongest warning yet about the dangers of counterfeiting and falling prey to ticket scalpers both in the real and virtual worlds.
Comments Symantec’s Dan Bleaken: “Fifa’s stringent policies around ticket sales have been widely publicised (Ticket Transfer Policy), yet this has not deterred the cybercriminals who are determined to siphon the last illegal dollar from the tournament.”
He adds that while most online savvy fans are aware of the dangers of responding to unsolicited e-mails offering tickets for sale and of following links to untested websites, there are still pitfalls awaiting the unwary.
“Symantec found World Cup tickets for sale on a well-known auction site after just a few simple searches.
“While some may be from honest sellers, many are scams designed to con fans out of their hard earned cash. Others offer tickets at highly inflated prices - it’s a minefield out there,” Bleaken says.
The owners of auction sites do their best to police this activity, but there is only so much they can do to keep up with the criminals, who continue to find increasingly effective ways to get their ads listed.
Adds Bleaken: “Fans are advised that even ‘legitimate’ tickets purchased from unofficial sources might not ensure entry to the match. Many online sellers are quite aware of this possibility and have published disclaimers absolving themselves of any responsibility.
“While some diehard fans may be prepared to assume the risk, it’s probably a better bet to follow the dictum of ‘rather safe than sorry’,” he says.