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August 4th, 2008

Phishing Websites Sell Fake Olympics Tickets

Many people have recently fallen for a Beijing Olympics ticketing scam that seems to have hit people all across the world. Due to the rarity of tickets for the games, and the particular setup of the scam site (and others), there was a lot of money lost by many people as they struggled to get their hands on tickets that didn’t exist.

The Web site asks users to register first before buying tickets. Filling out the form is already questionable because some confidential information required during the registration. It seems this site will accept any information, regardless of the validity of the information entered. This shows that the supposed ticket sellers don’t intend to deliver the tickets after payment.

After registering, the user now can sign in to buy tickets. The site then asks for credit card numbers and CW2 numbers after a user has choosen which ticket to purchase. There are already hundreds of victims who lost large amounts of money to this site according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times reports that Olympics officials have already asked federal courts to shut down certain Web sites that pose as sellers of tickets but actually are stealing credit card numbers and other confidential information.

It seems that MSNBC have contributed to the confusion as to how people were led into believing the site was legitimate. MSNBC Forbes Traveler article, published in late February, carried links to at least one fake ticketing site. These sites have since disappeared from the actual page, pulled sometime between the end of July and now, but it led to implied legitimacy for the site and helped it gain a search engine position and helped lead many down the path of losing large amounts of money. MSNBC have silently fixed the article but contributed to the confusion as to how people were led into believing the site was legitimate.

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