2018 World Cup in Russia Could Spur Next Wave of Financial Fraud Attacks



Vipul Srivastava
Fraud analytics professional

In less than a month’s time, the biggest global extravaganza will kick off in Russia. Thirty-two national teams will fight for the top spot in the 2018 Football World Cup. FIFA estimates that more than $5.7 billion in revenue will be generated from the showpiece event, and that more than a million tourists are expected to travel to Russia. This event will indeed be a good time for more than 3.2 billion fans worldwide, but it will also be a potentially lucrative time for fraudsters.

During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil there was a 300% increase in skimming-related fraud incidents. This same risk applies to this year’s World Cup, as many fraudsters may try to install skimmers on merchant terminals or ATMs near the match venues or hotels to take advantage of the transactions made by foreign tourists.

The attacks will not be limited to Russia. In Brazil, fraud journalists detected fake FIFA websites selling forged tickets. Buyers assumed they were buying genuine tickets, but they lost their ticket money and their cards were compromised. The same is expected to happen this time around. Fraudulent companies have launched marketing and promotional campaigns to take advantage of the hype and excitement surrounding this event. While many of these promotional emails are legitimate, people still fall prey to phishing attacks. Fraudulent emails or fake contests promise free match tickets, lottery prizes or foreign holidays. Clicking these links does not only install malware on your computer or mobile phone, but it also steals your personal and bank account information which could be used to cause even more financial loss.

You can prevent falling victim to the frauds surrounding the World Cup by doing the following:

  • Before swiping your card, carefully check ATM terminals for skimmers or any other suspicious devices installed.
  • Monitor your credit card transactions regularly, and inform the bank if you find fraudulent transactions.
  • Ensure you are making payment on secure and trustworthy websites.

Historically, we have seen a surge in fraud attacks during events like the 2018 World Cup. Global events can be money-spinning for fraudsters, as they have the potential to attack people by cashing on the excitement. There has been steady increase in malware and other transactional fraud attacks in recent months matching the buildup to the event and the attacks will increase as the event progresses. Anti-fraud professionals should tighten their seat belts and look out for fraud indicators in coming months.

Vipul Srivastava works in the fraud risk department of a global bank and has keen interest in exploring new ways to mitigate fraud risk.