Super Bowl LIV is only a few days away. On Sunday, February 2nd, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will fight for a win in Super Bowl LIV. Super Bowl LIV promises to be an exciting time for American football, whether you're in it to see if the 49ers will join the Steelers and Patriots with the most Super Bowl championships, the advertisements, or you hope to witness another incident like Janet Jackson's 2004 halftime show incident. Here at Guardio, we want to make sure that the memories formed around Super Bowl LIV are positive ones. Here are some of the most common scams that criminals use around the time of the Super Bowl:
If you’re a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers, or if you plan to watch the big game with others, the chances are that you’re going to sport some gear to show support for your team. Unfortunately, this scrambles to buy apparel and merchandise to arrive before the game has caught many consumers off guard.
It’s common for brand new e-commerce websites to begin popping up, promising the best prices and quickest shipping to help you prepare for the big game. Many of these websites claim that they offer Official NFL Merch. However, many consumers have been disappointed to find that what they received wasn’t official merch at all and was printed poorly and was of deficient quality.
Merchandise that Never Comes
Some of us just want to show off which team they’re rooting for, but don’t want to pay the high prices of the Official NFL Merch. Unofficial gear serves that purpose. However, with so many new websites popping up and offering the lowest prices and quickest shipping, it’s tough to tell which sites are actually going to send your gear, and which ones were created by criminals to capitalize on the excitement of the Super Bowl. Each year, many consumers using these temporary popup websites find that their merchandise never comes and that they’re out the money that they paid. In some cases, they later discovered that they became victims of identity theft.
FedEx recently issued a warning to its customers that criminals recently began sending fake tracking codes by SMS text and email and asking consumers to update their delivery preferences so that their packages can be delivered. With an increase in online purchasing and the rush to obtain merch before the big game, this scam is catching many consumers off guard. These links send unsuspecting victims to a fake FedEx settings page or Amazon survey, then prompt victims to enter their card information to verify their identity or to claim a “free” product as a “thank you for completing the survey.” FedEx reports that these text messages and emails are NOT legitimate and that customers should delete them unopened and report them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Super Bowl LIV Counterfeit Ticket Scams
How exciting would it be to watch the Super Bowl live and in person? Many of us dream of the opportunity. With the cheapest Super Bowl 2020 ticket costing an astounding $4,345, naturally, people are going to shop around for a good deal in hopes of making their dream of attending the Super Bowl Live, a reality. If someone is offering a Super Bowl 2020 ticket price lower than Ticketmaster’s starting price of $4,345, this is a huge red flag. Most of us would never buy a ticket for anything at such an astronomical price just to turn around and sell it for a much lower cost.
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Hotel / Accommodation Super Bowl Scams
Most hotels in Miami are booked for Super Bowl LIV, which means that those hoping to avoid same-day travel are looking elsewhere for accommodations. Many homeowners rush at the opportunity to rent out their homes for hundreds of dollars on Airbnb or privately while they travel elsewhere to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Super Bowl. There are many, many legitimate offers out there; however, many people have fallen victim to scams.
Imagine that you’ve prepaid for private accommodations in Miami. You saw photos of the home where you’ll be staying, you looked it up on Google Maps to make sure you won’t have any problems getting there, and you’re all set. You trek across the country or over a few state lines and finally reach your destination, excited to relax and get ready to go to the game. Instead, you find that the homeowners are still there, and even worse, they have no idea who you are or that someone was offering their home for private accommodations for the Super Bowl. Someone just stole images of the inside of a home online, presented them as an available rental, and took off with your money. Now, you’re out of the money you paid for accommodations and have to find somewhere new to stay in a city where most hotels are already fully booked.
How can I stay safe?
- Make sure to purchase your Super Bowl LIV tailgating gear, apparel, and merchandise directly from the NFL Shop.
- Use browser protection to alert you when you’re visiting a website that hasn’t been around long enough to be trusted or that contains known malicious code and scams.
- Always research companies you haven’t dealt with before. Check the BBB website to see if they have a business profile or BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has reported them as a scam.
- If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to merchandise, Super Bowl tickets, and accommodations.
- When in doubt about a tracking number, email, or text that you received, do not use the link provided in the solicitation. Instead, go directly to the website belonging to the company or shipping agent you’re doing business with and verify the validity of the claim with them.