With the World Cup around the corner many people receive emails or see adverts advertising free versions of Excel, or wall charts to help track the progress of the tournament. But how safe are these freebies, and what is the catch when you click on them?


What scams should you look out for?

The most common scams involving the World Cup revolve around free tickets. Who wouldn’t want an all expenses paid trip! Scammers know trips like this are hard to ignore, and subsequently send emails and letters out promising everything imaginable.

Many of these emails will contain malicious zip files, which when clicked, will allow your computer to be taken over by remote administrators, or download a malicious virus.


Free online streams of various games are another way scammers try to trick people. The scams may ask you to fill out a quick survey or download and install software before you can unlock access to the stream. These temptations only ever work in favour of the scammers.


Free wall charts where you can track the progress of the tournaments are another way scammers try to target people. Whether these are printable copies that you need to download, or online versions through a free copy of Excel, be wary. Many of the links to these will contain malicious viruses, or only give you so much access, with the requirement to pay a fee to see a full version.


How can you protect yourself?

  • Treat your digital information and property like you would personal property – be pro-active with your security to cyber threats
  • Use a password manager to setup and manage different logins for all your online accounts – LastPass is a popular choice
  • Use email scanning anti-virus software that will alert you to phishing emails
  • Be wary of downloading any software on your phone, laptop or computer, especially if it asks you for permissions you aren’t familiar with
  • Keep your devices and software up to date – scammers aim to attack the more vulnerable systems that have not yet been patched by software companies


Remember, stay safe and use legitimate sources, many major news and sports sites will broadcast the games for free, without the need to download anything.