The California Community College Athletic Association logo was used to spread fraudulent links to athletic games and contests, announced Sept. 17 on its Twitter social media page.
A week earlier, the CCCAA was notified by schools that a fraudulent link was sent to fans of the association’s football programs to watch games in Northern California.
Fans were suspicious and started questioning the link because it did not work, according to CCCAA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Cardone.
The spreading of fraudulent links occurred a week later in Southern California.
“Several of our schools noticed similar links surrounding their games, and what happened up this way a week earlier seemed to be repeating itself again last weekend,” Cardone wrote in an email. “They were also being used for soccer games as well. It’s just been really frustrating.”
Pierce College athletics has been targeted by these fraudulent links. There was a link going around for the football game against Victor Valley College on Saturday.
Athletic Director Susan Armenta in a statement wrote that fans, family and friends need to be careful.
“Unfortunately, these links are collecting your information and taking any money paid to them. Please only click on links to our contests that are from either CCCAA or official institutional websites and verified social media accounts,” Armenta wrote. “Any links purporting to sell tickets to any Pierce College athletic events that are not from our website or link from our website may be fraudulent.”
By using the CCCAA logo and marks, the links to the events and games made it seem like they were something the CCCAA authorized.
Specifically, the fraudulent links are trying to get fans to watch regular-season games.
According to CCCAA Director of Communications Mike Robles, the CCCAA does not broadcast regular-season games.
Rather, they only broadcast during state championships. Such information may help one tell if a link is fraudulent or not.
The CCCAA then notified the affected schools and informed them that these links were fraudulent and not associated with them.
“We tried to follow the links to a point of contact so that we could send a cease-and-desist letter but have not been successful yet,” Robles wrote in an email.
“The problem popped up again this weekend in Southern California and we sent out warnings through our social media warning people the links are not associated with us and are fraudulent.”
Only a few schools have notified the CCCAA regarding the situation.
After further investigating the issue, the CCCAA found that the links were primarily being spread through tweets on Twitter.
“We hope it’s not widespread and hopefully will go away,” Robles wrote.
The CCCAA is still attempting to find who may be spreading these fraudulent links and information or how they are being generated.
However, the CCCAA believes that several fake Twitter accounts are responsible for posting and spreading these fraudulent links, according to Cardone.
“The best we can tell is they are sending tweets that make it appear the CCCAA is broadcasting games and if fans want to watch them online, then all they need to do is click on the link, input their credit card information and they’ll be able to,” Cardone wrote.
After contacting colleagues across the country, the CCCAA and Robles learned others are facing the same problem.
“We would not be surprised to see this affecting other schools or conferences across the country, though. The internet is full of fraudulent information and tactics,” Robles wrote. “Trying to stop them is like playing whack-a-mole. We’re trying though.”
The CCCAA is actively trying to prevent further spreading of any fraudulent links. However, it is difficult.
“Anyone that gets affected by these types of fraudulent activities would love to put a stop to them, either through legal action or another way, however, it’s very difficult to get to the bottom of it,” Cardone wrote. “Education is our most effective weapon and we’ve sent out social media notices to that effect and will continue to do so whenever necessary.”