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Olympic Domain Scams Rife

August 9, 2016

As with any major event, the unscrupulous have been busy preying on the unwary in relation to the Olympic Games, using fake Rio 2016 domains.

There's been all sorts of hacking, phishing and other Olympic connected cybercrime going on in the lead-up to the Games, and it continues while they are underway.

One of the more common ploys is registering unauthorised Rio 2016 related domains and selling fake last-minute tickets to events. The financial details provided by unwitting purchasers are then used to gain access to the victims' accounts; which are drained.

SecureList flagged the practice back in May, when it said it was blocking a large number of Olympic-themed domains due to dodgy details. The security firm also provided advice on what to watch for.

Some domainers (or would-be domainers) have been getting in on the Rio action as well, registering Olympics themed names. This has drawn the ire and legal clout of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which is chasing after registrants it feels have been violating the brand.

According to Rio 2016 brand protection guidelines:

" is not allowed to create domain names using the Rio 2016 brands, especially for commercial purposes".

.. it's a little vague, but one of the examples it gives is using the term "OlympicStore" is a no-no.

Back in 2012, Olympic domains also caused their share of headaches. During the lead-up to that event, one researcher estimated 80% of "Olympic" web sites were operated by scammers or spammers.

There appears to be quite a few Rio Olympic domains still up for sale on eBay at the moment, although prices have dropped considerably given the event is now under way. Anyone purchasing those names at "bargain" prices might also get an unexpected and unwelcome bonus to go with it post-purchase - a legal notice from the IOC.

On a somewhat related note, it's always wise to perform a trademark search when choosing a domain name. It can save a bit of (expensive) grief down the track.

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