Lottery and betting scams in times of COVID-19

In the last two years, the number of people who use apps to buy lottery tickets or place bets has increased.

Digitalisation and the growing use of information and communication technology (ICT) have had a direct and cross-cutting impact on all sectors of society. The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated digitalisation trends and the use of cyberspace. This has strengthened the growing trend of cyber threats.

Therefore, in order to avoid long queues and the possible spread of the coronavirus, more and more people have decided to buy lottery tickets and place bets over the Internet.

Cybercriminals can take advantage of this opportunity to intensify their criminal activity with the proliferation of malicious domains. These fraudulent websites hide a wide variety of illicit or malicious activities. For example, websites can serve as a platform for phishing, malware, ransomware, obtaining personal identification, etc. In addition, cybercriminals pretend to be official public services, banks or government websites, among others, to gain credibility.

Phishing is a common technique among cybercriminals. They send emails impersonating government institutions or official entities, informing individuals that they have been awarded. The aim is to persuade users to provide bank details directly in order to collect financial and fiscal information.

The police recommend exercising extreme caution when buying lottery tickets and placing bets over the Internet and being wary of messages or calls informing the recipient that he/she has won a prize and that, therefore, he/she must enter their bank details to proceed.

People who want to buy lottery tickets online should do so only on authorised and official websites, check the authenticity of the lottery ticket they have purchased and check that it has the logo and seal of the issuing entity.


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