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Better Business Bureau ®
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BBB warns Winter Olympic fans to beware of scams
February 06, 2014

Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to keep their eyes peeled for fraudulent tickets and merchandise during this year’s Winter Olympics.

All around the world, millions are gearing up for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, kicking off this weekend. Kids will watch and dream of being Olympians when they’re older. The majority of us will watch, amazed by the athleticism displayed as we root for our home teams.

But, beware of scams! Official Olympic merchandise is available through a number of sources, but counterfeit goods and outright scams are everywhere. A recent search on eBay showed 5,693 items for “Sochi 2014.” Many were authentic re-sales, but some were fraudulent. The most impressive item was the “Olympic Torch Sochi 2014. Yours for just $7,000!”

Lookingfor Olympic merchandise?

Consumers should familiarize themselves with Olympic logos, graphics and branding and consider shopping directly with the official website of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. To be certain you are getting official Olympic merchandise, follow these easy steps:

· Go to the official Olympic website (sochi2014.com). If it opens in French or Russian, click on the small “EN” on the left side to switch to English.

· Click on the word“Shop” on the top left side of the home page.

If you want to buy U.S. team merchandise, go to this official site: Teamusa.org.

BBB reminds shoppers that most “collectible” merchandise is manufactured in large quantities and rarely rises in value. If you want to purchase a “limited edition”memento, check to see how limited it is before making a decision.

Final Notes

Make purchases with a credit card. Consumers should always purchase items with a credit card if they are shopping online. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, the consumer can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.

Be cautious of phishing email scams. If you receive any unfamiliar or unsolicited email claiming to pertain to the Winter Olympics, don’t open any attachments or click on any links. Doing so could put malware on your computer and compromise your personal and financial information.

Make and stick to a budget. Going to the Olympics may be a once in a life time event, but don’t go overboard. Plan ahead and stay tight to your budget. If you need help with debt, check out bbb.org/debt. You’ll find great information on budgeting and debt reduction.