Every major sporting event comes with excitement as well as the opportunity for scammers to take advantage of that enthusiasm. The NBA Finals are no exception.
The Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series. Tickets to Game 3 in Miami range from $450 for the standing-only section to nearly $30,000 for courtside seats.
Anyone willing to dish out that amount of cash would want to make sure that they are getting what they pay for. However, people need to be on the lookout for websites that are not affiliated with the NBA or the teams.
Cybersecurity firm BrandShield has identified numerous websites that may look legitimate, but are not affiliated with the league or teams.
It's not just ticket websites people need to worry about while supporting their team in the NBA Finals. Other websites and social media posts offer unofficial team memorabilia. While consumers may think they are getting a deal on cheaper apparel, there are no guarantees that they will get what they ordered. If they do get the merchandise, it's likely counterfeit, cheating the team out of revenue.
"In many of these cases, you will see these social media pages or posts redirecting someone to a website or a listing on a marketplace," said Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield. Keren says that should be a red flag, especially if you are asked to send payment through an instant messaging service like WhatsApp.
There are other things consumers can do to make sure they are buying from a trusted seller. Keren said buyers should look at the website closely. If there are typos or grammatical errors, Keren said consumers should be suspicious. However, he notes that scammers are increasingly using artificial intelligence to make their websites look more legitimate.
Ads on social media can also be deceiving.
"In many of these cases, you might have fake ads that are promoted directly on you," Keren said.
He recommends going directly to the source. For example, go the Miami Heat or the Denver Nuggets' website to verify that they are offering the same deal in the ad.
"Because if it's real, it's going to be there," Keren said. "You don't have to go through the ad."
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