World Cup Crypto Scams Are On The Rise, Here’s How To Be Safe

Soccer fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup should be on the lookout for cryptocurrency scams, new research suggests.

Cybercriminals are always drawn to major global sporting events, due to the widespread interest and attendance, according to the Kaspersky researcher. During a study leading up to the World Cup, Kaspersky identified the main ways in which cybercriminals try to defraud football fans.

Since tickets for this year’s event are only available in digital format, scammers have increasingly profited by creating fraudulent websites that offer them. Fake merchandise, giveaways and giveaway websites also attract the unsuspecting among event enthusiasts.

However, scams involving cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens have come to light during the world’s largest event to feature them.

World Cup Crypto Scams Abound

Kaspersky highlighted the spread of various cryptocurrency scams as a “distinctive feature” of the 2022 World Cup. The researcher stressed that many scammers have been exploiting the popularity of NFTs.

Soccer is the most popular sport among cryptocurrency investors according to KuCoin research. Almost 25% of cryptocurrency investors list soccer as their favorite sport. Among crypto investors who favor soccer, almost 41% are interested in sports NFTs.

Some scams revolve around gambling, offering the chance to win large amounts of cryptocurrency by betting on the outcome of a match. Similar scams involve NFT giveaways of team art or merchandise.

In both cases, fans are required to provide their crypto wallet credentials, so potential winners can receive their prizes directly. However, disclosing such information causes scammers to drain the wallets of fans of their content.

Meanwhile, the investigation also anticipated more generic crypto scams, such as investment fraud, at the global sporting event. Similar to other fundraising schemes, scammers will lure users into investing in a newly issued coin, only to abscond with the investor’s funds.

Crypto and the World Cup

This year’s World Cup is the first to feature cryptocurrency so prominently, with cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com as a sponsor. This has provided exposure for 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. FIFA Fan Festival pitches capture player movements 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 particular soccer team, have also played a role in the tournament thus far. After an upset loss to Saudi Arabia, the heavily favored Argentina fan token lost almost a quarter of its value.

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