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super bowl scams
© Georgii Boronin |
Security & privacy

How to spot Super Bowl betting scams

Crooks never sleep, and they’re incredibly aggressive during busy times of the year when the victim pool is deep. Tax season is here, and we already see an uptick in scams. Here’s how to spot one and avoid sending your hard-earned money to a criminal.

We’re just a few days from the Super Bowl, and guess what? The scams are running rampant. No matter which team you’re rooting for, you’ll want to be extra careful as gameday approaches.

Phishing, smishing

Phishing attacks are among the most common forms of cybercrime, involving fake messages masquerading as well-known brands and companies that people usually trust. Or they can simply send offers and promises too good to be true.

When scammers take to sending malicious text messages, you get cases of smishing. Smishing is an acronym for SMS phishing or short message services phishing.

In this case, scammers text potential victims with invitations to enter betting square pools supporting good causes. Cybersecurity firm Proofpoint tweeted screenshots of the scam showing prizes that include an iPad, iPhone or a $1,000 complimentary bet.

proofpoint super bowl scam screenshots

The messages contain links (usually shortened URLs) to malicious websites, where the crooks will take further steps to steal your money, credentials and private information.

Proofpoint reports that football-themed attacks are up by over 20%, while suspicious messages referencing the Super Bowl are up by over 860%.

What you can do about it

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the Big Game without worrying about getting scammed. Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited or suspicious emails or text messages. They could be scams leading to malicious websites.
  • Watch out for red flags such as spelling and grammar errors.
  • Use two-factor authentication for all online accounts that offer it.
  • Create strong passwords and incorporate password managers for better security.
  • Forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (SPAM).
  • Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

Keep reading

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Can you spot the giveaway in this scam email?

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