SCAM ALERT: Don't Get Fooled By Fake High School Sports Stream Links

Scam alert conceptual traffic sign and stormy sky

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It is tournament time once again here in the great state of Minnesota and the scammers are out in full force, flooding Facebook and Twitter with fake links that lead victims to believe that they're paying for a high school sports live stream.

Make no mistake, this has been an issue for a while now. Nameless, faceless folks who are most likely not from this state or even country have learned our school names, our colors, our cities, and our communities and have exploited this information in order to scam fans, family members and friends of student athletes. They are highly active on Facebook and Twitter, scouring any and all public posts about any and all high school sporting event they can find and commenting with their malicious links.

The scammers will search for posts containing school names, they will then comment on that post with a fake link that appears to be a live stream of that game you are talking about. That link will bring you to a website that will claim it is a pay-per-view game and accept your credit card information. After that, you're sent to a page with a buffering video that never loads, and you have no given your name, email, address, and credit card info to some very bad people.

If they're not commenting on public posts, they're making posts of their own. There is a Twitter account (@MSHSL_Broadcast) that has over a thousand followers and posts nothing but malicious, scam links.

Photo: VideoProduction

Each of those links brings people to a unique page with the MSHSL logo and the team names in the header. In this case, even the section game and round are included.

Photo: VideoProduction

Multiple official school Twitter accounts currently follow this account, and the more followers it has the higher credibility it has to the untrained eye. I highly recommend not only unfollowing if you already are, but also blocking and reporting this account as well. I should also note that I have seen many official team accounts fall victim to scams like this and if you happen to be an admin of an official school account, I implore you to triple-check any broadcast link for authenticity before sharing with your followers.

I personally called out the MSHSL_Broadcast Twitter account and within minutes I was blocked, showing that not only are there real people behind this, but also that there's enough money in this industry to pay people to flood social media with these fake links and block those who are sounding the alarm about them. These links are also posted on Facebook, with the hopes that people stumble upon their fake pages while searching for a way to watch the game.

Photo: VideoProduction

As someone who is typically able to spot internet scams fairly easily, even I have to respect how good these terrible people are at their jobs. Last year a friend on Facebook posted about a White Bear Lake game that evening and in the comments was someone who posted orange, white and black heart emojis with "GO BEARS!" and a link to the live stream. It didn't look like a bot, it didn't use "LIVE STREAM" in all caps with weird letters, it was just a causal comment that you would expect to see from a fan who wanted to get the word about about a live stream. Unless you are a giant nerd like me, I could easily see how most people would think that is legit.

As I said earlier, they are doing this on such a large scale that it leads me to believe that they are profiting greatly from this which means there are a lot of people falling victim to this. Please, please think before you click and, even more importantly, share this info with your family and friends and help get the word out about these scammers.

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