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Get Gephardt: How to stay ahead of the 2024 Olympics scams

Apr 16, 2024, 10:01 PM | Updated: 10:31 pm

IOC excludes Russian and Belarusian athletes from Paris 2024 Olympics opening ceremonies....

The Paris 2024 logo, representing the Olympic and Paralympic Games four months prior to the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games is displayed on the facade of Paris town hall on March 14, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utahns know firsthand from 2002, the Olympics can be a bit chaotic with millions of people jammed in an unfamiliar place speaking many different languages. The situation is sure to entice opportunistic con men who hope to come away from the games with a little “gold” themselves.

“It’s a ripe opportunity for scammers,” said Adam Laub, general manager of Netwrix, a global security vendor.

Laub said a little preparedness before traveling for the Olympics or anywhere else can protect you.

“Just making sure that the things you’re doing – procuring online, etcetera, are done so in a safe way as possible,” he said.

Procuring — as in tickets — keeping in mind that ticket scams are a conman favorite. They love selling tickets that don’t exist.

“There is an actual portal within the official Olympics website,” Laub said. “A resale portal where you can go and make sure that the tickets you’re buying are indeed legitimate and that you’re not exposing yourself to counterfeit tickets or ones that are potentially massively overpriced.”

Laub also suggests using a credit card whenever possible. Your credit card can offer you protections you may not otherwise receive.

If you’re planning to keep a little cash on hand for small transactions – such as tips – exchange your currency at official banks only. Never purchase euros from someone on the street.

And when you’re trying to do business with someone who cannot speak your language, use a smartphone interpreter app to ensure all parties understand the terms of your transaction.

And while overseas, you might be tempted to save a few bucks by leaving your phone in airplane mode and just relying on free Wi-Fi. Laub does not suggest going that route. Bad guys can create hot spots that look legit, but when you connect, they’ll steal your logins, passwords, and other credentials.

“Very dangerous,” he said of using public Wi-Fi hotspots. “In fact, probably the best thing you could do to secure your device before going over there is to procure an international roaming plan.”

Laub says to be wary of ticket scams and hotel booking scams and to book early if possible on reputable websites.

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Get Gephardt: How to stay ahead of the 2024 Olympics scams