This week, tens of thousands of hysterical Steelers and Packers devotees are descending upon Arlington Stadium in Texas — ready to party like it is 1999. They will be joined in restaurants, bars and living rooms around the globe by tens of millions (indeed, hundreds of millions) of fellow football fanatics, as well as those of us who simply like to celebrate everything, including but not limited to, sunrise and sunset, totally revved up for a good, old fashioned media and sports spectacular.
But, we are not alone.
The cyber-super highwaymen, as well as the more conventional cat burglars, pickpockets and scam artists are in a celebratory spirit as well. They are counting on the fact that we revelers tend to become distracted by sense numbing mega moments like the Super Bowl insanity fest; thus, providing them access to yet another point of personal vulnerability.
Our friends at Mainstreet.com and the NFL have published some cogent thoughts. For instance:
Beware of the Bogus Ticket. Both MainStreet and the NFL say that by now your should have purchased your tickets through Ticketmaster the Official NFL Ticket Exchange, or another reputable third party ticket vendor (or else you will have to get a second and third mortgage on your home). If you find a last minute, too-good-to-be-true deal on seats, then the likelihood is that you’re being swindled. It’s amazing what people can do with Photoshop. The NFL explains how to tell a fake from the real deal.
Sweepstakes Sucker-dom. If you haven’t already, then please DO NOT click on any magic link that might have just appeared in your email promising you a last minute shot at an unforgettable weekend of fun, sun and Super Bowl sport – a Hail Mary pass at game day tickets and a luxurious suite in Dallas. Because if you do, you could well be on the receiving end of something quite unforgettable. Perhaps a slimmer bank account or an overactive computer tackled by malware or other viruses that transform your PC or laptop into a beacon to all those seeking a chance for a better life – on your coin.
[Resource: 12 Tips for Protecting Your Identity]
Computer Security. So this might be a good time to make sure that in addition to not clicking on that link or picture of your favorite player which was sent to you by a fellow – yet undisclosed – Packer or Steelers fan, you have installed the most sophisticated and updated anti-virus and anti-malware, firewall and other appropriate security software on your computer. Also, make sure that it’s been updated with the latest list of football, and non-football related viruses.
Travel Game Plan. According to Mainstreet.com, Attorney General Bill Ryan — the “friend” promised you by Pennsylvania’s state slogan – recently issued a warning to his home state Steelers faithful advising them to be on the alert against Super Bowl scams. Beyond ticket sweepstakes and the lure of hitting the brass ring, Ryan warned that those traveling to the happy hunting ground of the Cowboys should be cautious when making accommodations at various Texas temporary bunkhouses.
As reported in Mainstreet.com, Ryan advised Pennsylvanians to check out the bona fides of travel agencies, confirm the locations and quality of hotels of interest and use plastic (perchance a Steelers affinity credit card) to pay for the package, since credit cards give you a better shot than most debit cards or cash to call a foul against charges that seem out of bounds. As he said in his press release, “In past years….fans purchased hotel rooms that were inconveniently located, or charged additional fees that they thought were included in the package, such as tickets to the game.”
Steelers photo by daveynin, via Flickr