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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Nicol

Instagram athlete scams - ADidas

If we've never met before, and you want to talk to me about something professional, then there's an info@ email address which I provide publicly. It's monitored by a colleague because I know that a public email address sometimes invites cranks and criminals after I spoke out about intimate image abuse. One individual in Finland took the time to send an abusive message, together with screenshots, at 1.18am his time. I doubt he knew that he wasn't actually emailing me, nor that he was giving away his IP address nor that his email was connected to his LinkedIn account (my colleagues are very clever).

The most common criminal emails I receive at info@, however, are scam emails. The most common are Instagram scams and the most common Instagram scams are emails trying to convince me that my account is being shut down for copyright infringement. Given that I don't use the info@ email for any social media account, it's not a convincing scam.

This week, though, a scam popped up which was remarkable given that it seemed relatively convincing, was so clearly focused on athletes, and came with a nasty Malware virus. These were sophisticated criminals and I want to make athletes aware.

After analysis: the links provided didn't lead to the pages which they suggested, instead they took the recipient to a page which, upon a malware review, contained a download to a Windows Malware virus. Any poor unfortunate who received this email, clicked on the link, and uses Windows, would have had their laptop infected with a virus and, no doubt, criminals crawling over all their private information and files.

We need to always be cautious when we receive emails, messages, DMs, and analyse them closely before jumping in. There are four quick giveaways on this email which are worth mentioning, as they help us to identify scams when they appear in our inbox.

1. The email address. If you receive an unsolicited email you should always take a closer look at the email address. Did this really come from Adidas? Did it balls.

2. The links. By just hovering your mouse over the links provided you can see that the link isn't the same as what it says it is. Dodgy.

3. The language used. I don't pretend to write in perfect English, I'm from Motherwell for goodness sake, but you can usually tell when an email isn't written by one of the biggest sports corporations on the planet if it's obvious that the words don't come from a native English speaker and the grammar is all over the place. The "advertisement of our shoes"?? I'm pretty sure the copywriters at Adidas would have kittens at that sentence.

4. The footer. Lastly, the footer is often a giveaway. On this one there wasn't even much of an effort to recreate the Adidas footer. I've never received an email from Adidas (inbox me guys!) but I'm pretty sure their footers look a lot different from that.

There was no real danger of me engaging with this email, because it went through the B5 team first, but this scam is cynically targeting athletes and, I fear, it could fool someone. I'm sharing it in the hope of raising awareness amongst athletes but there was one last thing I did: I dropped an email to Adidas to let them know. It's important that big corporations pay attention and take action when someone's using their brand and intellectual property to try to scam people. I am sure Adidas will be pleased to receive the information and hopefully they'll take action to investigate this scammer and seek to shut it down.

And if they want to thank me by offering me a boot deal, well, they'd be very welcome to drop me an email: info@


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