The biggest football game of the year is a big day for being online - whether you’re traveling to Santa Clara to watch it in-person or heading to a friend’s party (or two).  Either way, it’s important to protect yourself while you’re on your phone, and there is no doubt there will be a lot of social media activity from kickoff to half-time to when the clock reaches zero.

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    If you’re like the majority of us and don’t have a ticket to the game, you’ll most likely be watching the extravagantly funded commercials and your Twitter or Facebook feed from a friend’s house.  Here are some things to keep in mind while online.

    • Big events are popular among spammers:  Recognize spam as spam; meaning, don’t click on video links or open any attachments from unknown senders.  Only open emails from reputable vendors and people you know.
    • Watch out for fake offers: Don’t think you’re going to buy a last-minute cheap ticket.  They don’t exist!  If you are in the market for a ticket, only buy from a reputable ticket agent.
    • Be a REAL fan:  You only want official NFL gear, right?  Watch out for knock-off or unofficial team merchandise, as it will not look good after the first wash.  Only buy from a retailer you recognize.
    • Phishing for your money: AVG’s Web Threats Team found the top brands misused by scammers in phishing scams are payment systems like PayPal and American Express and logistics companies like UPS / FedEx  -all companies you might expect an email from if you bought tickets or merchandise online. Do NOT reply or send personal data to these fake emails.  They are trying to get your bank and other personal information.  If you have ordered and want to track the package, use the tracking option directly on the retailer’s site.

    For the lucky ones who were able to get a ticket to the big game, you’re going to be in one of the most high-tech stadiums in the country!  It is Silicon Valley, right? Did you know that there are 1200 access points for WiFi at Levi Stadium?  That’s 1 WiFi point for every 100 seats!  Plenty of connection points for posting all those selfies!   Here are some tips for staying safe in the crowd: 

    • Turn off your phone and watch the game! You paid a lot of money for that ticket, so why do you want to watch it on a small screen?
    • Encrypt personal data: Access points at Levi Stadium are public but how do you know the access point you’re connecting to isn’t a criminal faking the WiFi name?  Download a free VPN like Hide My Ass! and encrypt your data.
    • Don’t advertise where you are to strangers: If you must post on social media, make sure you have your location settings turned off on your photos (geotagging) and don’t display your location.  You don’t want a burglar in your neighborhood knowing you’re at the game.  Your friends and family will know where you are when they see your photos. Just go to your phone “Settings”, find your camera app and turn off the location setting.
    • In case you lose your phone: Before you head to the big game, make sure you download anti-theft software, like AVG AntiVirus Pro for Android or make sure your anti-theft settings on your iPhone are active.  That way if you lose your phone or get pick-pocketed you’ll be able to disable, locate, or wipe it.

    Stay safe at the game and have a great Sunday!!