Scammers are looking to score off unsuspecting football fans heading for the FIFA 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil.
Supporters are being warned of suspected frauds being lined up for their visits to the football fiesta.
Thousands are looking for tickets for the games from touts and unofficial resellers – and are spending cash on travel and accommodation only to find they have lost their money to fraudsters.
Besides the normal warnings about street crime, like pick pockets, Britain’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has highlighted three trends as gangs of crooks ready for the kick-off on Thursday, June 12.
The concern is football fans will pay a penalty with a financial own-goal if they fall victim to one of the scams.
The three scammer tactics are:
- Investment Fraud – Fraudsters are offering land investment opportunities in Brazil suggesting big profits can be made from taking part in infrastructure projects for the World Cup. The NFIB says the investment is does not exist or worthless as most infrastructure projects are already under development or completed.
- Rental fraud – Football fans looking for World Cup accommodation have paid for non-existent rooms after responding to bogus online adverts. The same problem is affecting companies seeking retail space in Rio de Janeiro for the World Cup
- Lottery Scams – Supporters are receiving letters and emails from fraudsters claiming they have won World Cup match. However, the crooks ask for personal details to process the “prize” and rob their bank accounts
FIFA says any football fan shopping for World Cup tickets can only buy genuine match day passes from the FIFA web site.
“No other companies or individuals have any rights or permission to sell tickets and buying from an unofficial source is no guarantee the ticket is genuine and that the fan has a seat for the match,” said a FIFA spokesman.
FIFA also explained resellers offering tickets breach the conditions of the tickets and invalidate them, so fans buying from unofficial sources have no certainty they can enter the stadium and cannot claim any money back from FIFA.
England group stage matches are:
- England v Italy in Manaus on Saturday, June 14
- Uruguay v England in Sao Paulo on Thursday, June 19
- Costa Rica v England in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, June 24
“Our advice is England fans should not to travel if they do not have a ticket or accommodation booked already through a reputable source,” said a spokesman for the Football Association.