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Scamming the London Olympics brand

BBC London has discovered that hundreds of eastern European workers have been duped by a scam promising non-existent jobs at the Olympic site in east London. Our investigations unit and reporter Katharine Carpenter tracked down a convicted fraudster from east London who ran a scheme promising Slovak workers accommodation on a cruise ship in Docklands and jobs on the site.

Some 550 Slovakians handed over cash deposits of £600.

[Adrian Warner has] learned that London 2012 officials have already faced an array of other scams, including fake companies offering tickets, travel and hospitality to the Games as well as fraudsters telling people they have won money in an Olympic lottery. It has also become clear that some individuals have started claiming to be official recruiters for London 2012 jobs.

The 2012 organising committee has warned people not to provide any personal details without checking recruiters are properly authorised. What all of these people are trying to cash in on is the reliability of the "Olympic brand." The five rings are one of the most recognised symbols on the planet. The Games have the status of a respected international blue chip company and people have natural feelings of trust towards them.

But the International Olympic Committee was wounded by a ticket scam during the Beijing Games. Hundreds of people in Britain, the United States and Australia complained that they had handed over thousands of pounds for tickets for events, only to find out the tickets did not exist. The IOC doesn't want to see more crime associated with the Games and officials will be watching closely to see that the government and London 2012 react properly to the threat.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell says the "government will work closely with the law enforcement agencies in their efforts both to investigate and take action in response to any crime that has occurred."

From: Nightmare stories threaten Olympic dream, Adrian Warner, BBC London, 15 Sept 2008

More at: BBC London


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