Olympic ticket scams just the start, says researcher

Two bogus sites shut down, but more expected this month

Scammers have duped hundreds of people out of thousands of dollars each using bogus Olympic ticket-selling sites, and a security expert warned that more will follow.

At least two Web sites -- www.beijing-tickets2008.com and www.beijingticketing.com -- have been shut down in recent weeks after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) filed restraining orders with US federal courts, the Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers, said over the weekend. The Reuters news service followed with a story of its own.

The www.beijingticketing.com site was up and running earlier on Monday, but by 2pm US EDT, it was offline.

According to Reuters and the Los Angeles Times, hundreds of users were duped into handing over their credit card numbers and passport information as they paid for non-existent tickets to events at the Beijing Olympics, which opens Friday and runs most of the month.

The sites were particularly convincing, sporting professional designs and liberal use of Olympic logos. "Users had to be scratching their heads over these," said Paul Ferguson, an advanced threat researcher at security vendor Trend Micro, who examined one of the sites over the weekend. "There wasn't anything there that would have set off alarm bells."

On July 23, a federal court in Phoenix awarded the IOC and USOC a restraining order against www.beijing-tickets2008.com, forcing it to shut down. The two organizations were planning to ask a federal district court judge in San Francisco for an order to close www.beijingticketing.com today.

Ferguson wasn't surprised by the ticket scam. "It's not unanticipated," he said. "Every time there's a major news event, like the Olympics, it's almost guaranteed that sites like these will appear."

And he expects to see more of the same before Beijing bids good-bye to the world's athletes. "It wouldn't surprise me to see that any big news that comes out of the Olympics, say if Michael Phelps wins gold, is used by spammers for social engineering purposes to get people to click on embedded links," said Ferguson. "Or even if there's some civil unrest during the Games, like the attack this weekend in western China.

"Some of these guys are pretty savvy about knowing what news will get peoples' attention," Ferguson added.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?