Q: I love watching the Olympics and would like to buy some merchandise to show my support. How do I know if the clothes I buy are authentic or if they are counterfeit?
A: Counterfeit merchandise is a common problem surrounding major events, and the 2018 Winter Olympics is no exception. If you’re looking for authentic merchandise, visit Team USA’s official site at teamusa.org or the official Olympics store at shop.olympic.org. When buying items in a store, look for an authorized Olympic seal or tag.
For extra protection, pay with a credit card instead of cash so you can dispute the charges if necessary. While many stores are authorized to sell official Olympics merchandise, be wary of any third-party sellers offering products at a low price. Remember, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. When you buy counterfeit products, it takes business away from honest retailers.
Unfortunately, counterfeit merchandise isn’t the only scam con artists are using to profit from the winter games. Another common scheme to pop up during the Olympics is phishing scams. Be careful if you receive any unsolicited email that appears to be sent from Olympic organizers. Don’t click on links or attachments as these may give your computer a virus or malware.
Also, scammers are good at creating fake websites that look similar to official websites. So be mindful when looking up websites linked to the Olympics, especially if you’re looking to make a purchase. If you want to make a purchase online look for the “https” in the URL for the page where you enter payment information.
Another scam sure to pop up around this time of year is lottery scams. This is when scammers send fake emails telling recipients they have won the Olympic lottery or another contest where the grand prize is a trip to South Korea to attend a sporting event. Remember, if you don’t remember entering, it’s most likely a scam. During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a victim reported losing $2,600 in a counterfeit ticket scam. Something to keep in mind, should you decide to take a last-minute trip to South Korea.
If you suspect you’re the victim of fraud or a scam, report the information to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker. BBB uses the information to track fraud, to inform others and to work with law enforcement to attempt to thwart scammers.