By Andrew Brandt
World Cup soccer fans are in the crosshairs of scammers, and the problem appears to be getting worse in the run-up to the start of the tournament Friday. In a new twist on an old scam, a Web site is selling gullible Internet users what it claims is access to streamed video of every World Cup match. In fact, customers of the Live Sports Network only find that their “membership” provides them with a few links to what would otherwise be freely available streaming video feeds offered by various global TV networks, some of whom may be streaming some of the World Cup matches.
Potential customers are asked to pay $29.97 for the otherwise free content — a merely obscene “last minute discount” off the regular, utterly extortionate price of $69.95. Also pre-selected on the order form are two items, each of which adds another $9.95 to the total, for a grand total of $49.87. Goooooooal!
For that price, the Web site continues, you not only get every World Cup match, but “3,000+ premium TV channels” and “800+ premium movie channels” as well as a “comfortable interface.”
Well that’s a relief. I hate those interfaces with sharp, jabby points that stab you in the wallet.
The sales pitch for the scam, historically, has been used over and over again to sell gullible Internet users free software, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, the free OpenOffice office suite, and the free peer-to-peer file sharing application Limewire. In fact, the same IP address used to host one Streaming Sports website, live-2010-football.com, also hosts six different Web sites selling something called PDF Pro 2010 (bundled with OpenOffice, something the OpenOffice organization has been actively fighting for more than a year), and three Web sites selling “unlimited access” to Limewire, a free application, for the completely outrageous price of $2.50 a month.