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How to avoid scams while streaming high school sports

A hand pointing out something on a computer screen while another person navigates where they're pointing with the track pad.
John Schnobrich
Scammers will attempt to steal financial information from fans of high school football searching for game livestreams.

The return of high school football also means the return of scammers trying to take advantage of fans who want to watch their favorite schools compete.

Scammers will tag schools' official social media accounts to appear legitimate according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In reality, their goal is to steal fans' personal information like credit card and social security numbers.

Jason West, communications director for the Missouri State High Schools Activities Association (MSHSAA), said streaming high school sports was popularized during the pandemic. But the increase in streaming has also lead to an increase in scammers, West said.

Ryan Fick helps run the livestream for Capital City High School sports. He said scammers pop up on the school's social media posts all the time.

"It seems like anytime you try to post information about an upcoming game, or you got to YouTube or even Facebook you will see fake link responses," Fick said.

According to the BBB, scammers will ask for a small amount, usually $1, to stream a game, but there is no stream to watch. Instead, scammers will charge much larger purchases using fans' financial information.

"And then the next thing you know, a $40 bill per month or something recurring on a credit card statement," West said.

Fans have reached out to schools and MSHSAA after losing money to scammers, West said. MSHSAA has worked with social media companies including Facebook to get fraudulent accounts removed, but the sheer number of scammers is hard to overcome, West said.

Fick said most schools won't charge you to watch a livestream. He said you should be cautious if you come across a livestream blocked by a pay wall.

KOMU 8 is a full-powered NBC affiliate operating as an independent commercial property. As such, KOMU 8 is the only major network affiliate in the United States that acts as a university-owned commercial television station utilizing its newsroom as a working lab for students.
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