HELENA — It’s nearly state tournament time for Montana high school basketball teams, as teams will sometimes be traveling hundreds of miles to their tournament site.
However, sometimes that travel isn’t the easiest to make for families, which is why live streams hosted by the NFHS Network are a fantastic thing. Though with that, opportunities for scammers are also on the rise.
“We continually work with the National Federation who's based out of Indianapolis, that head – gives us heads up that there's quite a bit of activity from really a live stream scam standpoint. Our biggest effort here is to really focus our fans directly to the NFHS network,” said MHSA Executive Director Brian Michelotti.
Tweets that appear like one that could be coming from the MHSA and include a link to a stream for games all across the state can be found on Twitter, but by digging deeper it’s easier to see that it’s likely a scam.
“Scammers are going to try to trick you into thinking it's a legitimate link – where it's coming from the actual official, you know, organization, the school or MHSA. You have to do more research than that, though,” said Jake Griffith, supervising attorney for the Office of Consumer Protections.
Griffith recommends taking a closer look at who is posting the link, how many followers they have, does the account have a picture, the poster's previous posts in an effort to gain a better understanding as to whether or not what they are posting is legitimate.
Using this post as an example, there are a few things that we can find. For instance, while the name of the account is Montana High School Association, if we take a closer look at the account’s Twitter handle is @opwelia and not @MHSA_MT, which is the official Twitter handle of the Montana High School Association.
Taking a closer look at the account, you'll find other inconsistencies like retweets that are in a foreign language and have nothing to do with Montana high school athletics.
“If you don't know where a link is coming from, you don't recognize why is there, don't click until you do a lot more research into it,” said Griffith.
To learn how to stream any state basketball tournament matchup this weekend, you can find more information on the NFHS Network.