Soccer fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup should be vigilant against cryptocurrency scams, recent research suggests.
Cybercriminals are always attracted to major global sporting events, due to broad interest and wide attendance, according to researcher Kaspersky. During a study leading up to the World Cup, Kaspersky identified the best ways cybercriminals intend to defraud football fans.
As tickets for this year’s event are only available digitally, scammers have increasingly resorted to creating fraudulent websites that offer them. Fake websites for goods, gifts and giveaways also attract the unwary among the event’s enthusiasts.
Still, scams involving cryptocurrencies and non-swallowable tokens have emerged at the biggest global event to showcase them.
World Cup crypto scams abound
Kaspersky highlighted the proliferation of various cryptocurrency scams as a “distinctive feature” of the 2022 World Cup. The researcher emphasized that many scammers have exploited the popularity of NFTs.
Soccer is the most popular sport among cryptocurrency investors according to research from KuCoin. Almost 25% of cryptocurrency investors cite soccer as their favorite sport. Among those soccer-favored crypto-investors, nearly 41% are interested in sports NFTs.
Some scams revolve around gambling, offering the prospect of winning large amounts of cryptocurrency for betting on a match outcome. Similar scams involve sweepstakes for NFTs of art or team merchandise.
In both cases, fans are asked to provide their crypto wallet credentials, so prospective winners can receive their prizes directly. However, disclosing such information leads to scammers draining fans’ wallets of their content.
Meanwhile, research also expected more generic crypto scams, such as investment fraud, at the global sporting event. Similar to other kickback schemes, scammers will lure users into investing in a newly issued coin, only to abscond with investors’ funds.
Crypto and the World Cup
This year’s World Cup is the first to feature cryptocurrencies so prominently, with crypto platform Crypto.com as a sponsor. It provides exposure to the platform and crypto in general to an estimated audience of five billion viewers.
Fans at the event also have the opportunity to create their own NFTs by participating in six-on-six matches. The pitches at the FIFA Fan Festival capture the movements of players and create a unique GIF based on them. Players then have the opportunity to receive these GIFs as NFTs.
Fan Tokens, cryptocurrencies themed around a specific football team, have also played a role in the tournament so far. After an upset loss to Saudi Arabia, the heavily favored Argentina fan token has lost nearly a quarter in value.
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