The City of London Police’s, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in partnership with FACT, warned sports fans to use legitimate sources to watch the high profile Anthony Joshua – Kubrat Pulev prize fight earlier in December.
According to a statement released by FACT, because more than 30,000 illegal streams were removed from social media platforms before and during a previous fight, streaming to hundreds of thousands of potential viewers was largely avoided.
PIPCU and FACT took this opportunity to warn consumers against clicking on illegal links, through which criminals could gain access to personal and financial data, which then can be used to set up other fraudulent websites in the consumer’s name, or to implant malware.
Why it matters
With only limited fans allowed in the stadium, more people than ever will be watching from the comfort of their own home,” said PIPCU Detective Chief Inspector Nick Court.
Penalties are severe. In 2019, three individuals were jailed for 17 years for defrauding a sporting fixture, by providing illegal access to more than 1,000 pubs, clubs, and homes throughout England and Wales.
“We (urged) fans this year to ask themselves if the risk of watching an illegal link is worth it,” he continued. “Not only is it illegal to stream matches without paying for them, but it’s also unreliable and risky. You never know what malware is in the stream you are using and what damage it is doing to your device.”
Furthermore, law enforcement agencies and legitimate providers can shut illegal sites down during the match, often at a crucial point, to dissuade people from using these sites in the future.