WM crypto scams are on the rise, here’s how to stay safe

Football fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup should be vigilant about cryptocurrency scams, recent research suggests.

According to researcher Kaspersky, cybercriminals are always attracted to major global sporting events due to the wide interest and large numbers of visitors. During a study leading up to the World Cup, Kaspersky identified the top methods cybercriminals use to cheat football fans.

With tickets for this year’s event only available digitally, scammers have increasingly benefited from creating fraudulent websites offering them. Fake websites for merchandise, gifts, and giveaways lure even the unwary among the event’s enthusiasts.

Still, cryptocurrency and non-fungible token scams have come to the fore during the largest global event where they are showcased.

Crypto scams abound at the World Cup

Kaspersky highlighted the proliferation of various cryptocurrency scams as a “distinctive feature” of the 2022 World Cup. The researcher stressed that many scammers took advantage of the popularity of NFTs.

According to a study by KuCoin, soccer is the most popular sport among cryptocurrency investors. Almost 25% of cryptocurrency investors list soccer as their favorite sport. Among these football-loving crypto investors, nearly 41% are interested in sports NFTs.

Some scams revolve around gambling and offer the prospect of winning large amounts of cryptocurrency for betting on a game outcome. Similar scams include sweepstakes for NFTs with art or team items.

In both cases, fans will be asked to provide their crypto wallet credentials so that potential winners can claim their prizes directly. However, disclosing such information then leads to scammers draining fans’ wallets with their content.

Meanwhile, research at the global sporting event also anticipated broader crypto scams such as investment scams. Similar to other rug-pull schemes, scammers will trick users into investing in a newly issued coin only to flee 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. This has exposed the platform and crypto in general to an estimated audience of five billion viewers.

Fans of the event will also have the opportunity to create their own NFTs by participating in six-on-six matches. The fields at the FIFA Fan Festival capture the players’ movements and use them to create a unique GIF. Players will then have the option to receive these GIFs as NFTs.

Fan tokens, cryptocurrencies related to a specific football team, have also played a role in the tournament so far. After an angered loss to Saudi Arabia, the highly favored Argentine fan token lost nearly a quarter in value.


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