Three Ways Scammers Target the World’s Biggest Sporting Event

Jul 21, 2021

Olympic Medals

Covid-19 isn’t the only nuisance antagonizing this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo. Concerted efforts by scammers to capitalize on the world’s most anticipated sporting event are underway, highlighting the escalating requirement for smarter and more efficient brand protection technology.

Every four years, scammers target the high profile and high dollar sporting spectacle, drawn by the potential for massive profit. Though the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) intellectual property and all related marks are highly legally protected, this doesn’t stop bad actors, often hiding behind the convenience of modern technology, from attempting to solicit their piece of the pie.

Here we cover a few of the most common ways scammers target the Games and how modern brand protection technology is well suited to help alleviate the problem.

Common Ways Fraudsters Take Advantage of the Games

1. Counterfeit merchandise

Perhaps the most common intellectual property abuse associated with the Games is that surrounding apparel and other similar merchandise. From t-shirts to hats to all types of souvenirs containing the protected marks of the Games and related official sponsors, unauthorized manufacturers and their distributors will be swindling consumers eager for 2020/2021 keepsakes.

2. Fraudulent tickets

A full year in advance of the 2020 Games, before they were postponed due to the global pandemic, a specific incident saw the fraudulent purchase of 6,900 tickets in Japan, worth 180 million yen ($1.67 million) via an online lottery. While the tickets were voided, this scenario underscores the demand surrounding ticket acquisition and the digital channels that can be abused in order to obtain them.

As the Games get underway, it’s likely that unauthorized sellers, with seemingly secure and transparent ordering methods, will pop up with last-minute tickets, as was the case for the 2016 Games in Rio. Driving the ambitions of scammers to defraud will also be the higher demand from Covid-19 restrictions and highly enforced crowd limitations.

3. Phishing schemes via email and social media

Using the theme of the Games as a guise, fraudsters are also using email and social media to impersonate varying officials and convincing unsuspecting victims to hand over their money. In one specific incident that took place in 2019, scammers targeted students at a university with a realistic Games-related job posting.

How to Minimize Trademark Infringement and Protect Brand Equity

With so many channels and marketplaces for fraudsters to operate in our complex digital world, it can seem like a daunting task to tackle the problem of fraud and IP infringement. Thankfully, with the right strategy and technology, scammers and their vast abuse networks can be traced, targeted, and taken down.

Here are 3 important steps to always ensuring brand protection, not only during a high profile, high-risk event:

1. Identify and prioritize highest value targets –find the biggest abuse networks and/or quickly identify and zoom in on the areas of infringement you most want to protect.

2. Uncover blind spots—discover inconspicuous abuse, such as those not using an obvious mark but still operating or profiting from your intellectual property.

3. Correlate online and offline data—for example, executing “test buys” of suspicious merchandise and bringing that data back into your digital efforts.

Want to learn more about how you can protect your brand against intellectual property threats? Download our whitepaper, Defending Brands, New Realities New Partnerships.

The Rise of Social Media Selling in China Reveals New Brand Protection Threats

By Xinyao Liu, Online Brand Protection Consultant The Rise of Social Selling and Brand Abuse in China  The concept of social media selling isn’t a new one. Social selling allows brands to find prospects on social media and build a relationship with a network of...

Anticounterfeiting Action: How the EUIPO is Powering More Protection for Rights Holders

By Francesca Tocco, Online Brand Protection Consultant, LexisNexis Online Intellectual Property Solutions  As part of an international team that works with brands and brand owners to help them protect their valuable IP and provide a safe online shopping experience for...

Everything You Need to Know About 11/11 Aka Singles Day—The World’s Most Popular Online Shopping Day

11/11, November 11th started as an unofficial holiday in China to celebrate single people. The holiday is referred to as Singles Day, Bachelor's Day, and double 11. In Chinese, a single person with no branches to the family tree resembles the numeral   "Asian...

Infographic: Traditional vs. Modern Online Brand Protection Technologies

Brands are built on trust. People need to feel assured that every interaction with your brand is 100% authentic, but that’s harder than ever to ensure. With eCommerce and social media permeating almost all aspects of our society, the online consumer base is...

Fashion, Social Media and eCommerce Collide with Counterfeiters 

Social media has revolutionized so many facets of society and commerce. Created to connect people, brands quickly realized that these powerful tools were a natural fit for consumer engagement. These channels deliver a captive audience that comes specifically to each...

The Rise of Systemic Abuse Networks

A version of this article originally appeared on Appdetex.com. It’s no secret brand abuse is on the rise. To get a clearer picture of the nature of this increase, Appdetex examined domain enforcement activity from a sample of their clients.  They found that, on...