Don’t get tripped up by online scams in the race for Olympic updates

olympic image

All eyes will be on London later for the Olympic opening ceremony and one in five people in the UK say they intend to follow the games online.

According to research from Ofcom 15% of people said they would use either a mobile phone or tablet to keep up with the latest events.

These will be the first games where the internet audience is so big and this could present an ideal opportunity for cybercriminals and online scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users looking for video clips or updates.

There are a number of different ways threats to be aware of but the good news is there are also some simple steps you can take to enjoy the games online:


There are lots of Olympic themed applications already available on all of the popular platforms. Take care though as there will also be suspicious applications designed to appear as legitimate ones.

  • Try to verify that an app is genuine before downloading
  • Check the developer’s website 
  • Read the reviews left by other users

There’s more information in our online guide to mobile apps.

Using WiFi

If you’re planning to any of the events in London then there are several companies offering free WiFi hotspots during the games. Remember that although the connection will be faster it might not be that secure. Scammers may also set up their own networks to steal the data from unsuspecting users who connect.

Avoid using public wifi for anything sensitive such as online banking
Make sure you only use wifi from a trusted provider 

Take a look at our guide to mobile security for more information.

Social media

Social media networks are already full of Olympic chatter and it will go into overdrive as the events get underway. There are a few things to be on the lookout for to stay safe:

  • Check where a shortened link is taking you before clicking by using a tool such as to make sure it doesn’t lead to anything malicious
  • If you are going to post something negative about someone online, be absolutely sure it is true before you click “update”
  • Take care with using someone else's photos or other content. If you wouldn’t be happy with people sharing it, there’s a good chance they feel the same way.

Our online guide to social networking safety has more information.

Ticket sales

Many people have already purchased tickets but as the games get underway the demand is likely to increase even further. People who have tickets for events they can no longer attend are also now able to re-sell their tickets using the official website.

  • Check the website you are buying tickets from is authorised.  If in doubt use the official London 2012 website checker
  • Beware of sites that appear to be anonymous or don’t have contact details
  • Trust your instinct – if an offer looks too good to be true it often is
  • Think before you buy. Simple checks can prevent you from losing money.

Take a look at our online guide to spotting fake sites for more information.

Test yourself


  • Today’s children will feature in almost 1,000 online photos by the time they reach age five more »
  • Safer Internet Day 2015: Parents say social media a mixed blessing for kids more »
  • Search engines, SEO and changing your site’s primary domain more »

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RT @armstrongjp: I was just on @BBCYork with @spanswicktweets on #trolling - there are some helpful tips and resources here…
Parents risking children's privacy by sharing hundreds of pictures online via @MirrorTech