A bunch of sports fans are about to put their personal data at risk this weekend

(Image credit: Shutterstock / gonin)

Being an avid sports fan can be expensive especially if you're following multiple leagues which is why many users have turned to illegal streaming to help cut costs. However, a new campaign from the anti-piracy organization FACT has shed light on just how dangerous illegal streaming can be.

To put together its new campaign, FACT worked together with former Premier League footballer Jimmy Bullard and cybersecurity expert Jamie Woodruff to highlight the dangers of illegal streaming.

In addition to breaking the law, watching illegal streams of popular sporting events can also put you at risk from malware and can even lead to full-scale identity theft as a result of sharing personal information such as email addresses and credit card details.

According to research from Opinium commissioned by FACT, almost half of the 1000 sports fans surveyed in the UK have either shared or would be willing to share their personal email address in order to gain access to illicit streams.

The dangers of illegal streaming

The research also found that the majority (64%) of respondents believe they would be putting their personal information at risk by illegally streaming. These concerns have weight to them as one in three (33%) of those surveyed admitted that they had experienced fraud, been hacked or were exposed to online scams as a result of illegal streaming.

After learning about the intricacies of illegal streaming from Woodruff, Bullard warned sports fans of the dangers associated with streaming illicit content online in a press release, saying:

“You hear that there are lots of problems with dodgy streaming sites, but I had no idea just how serious it was.  I was pretty shocked at how these sites work, and by how much trouble someone could land themselves in using them. As someone who’s been targeted by online hackers before, it’s frightening what can happen if your details get into the wrong hands. My main takeaway for anyone watching these streams is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Although illegal streaming puts consumers at risk of online fraud, identity theft, malware and exposure to extreme or explicit content, it also comes with the risk of prosecution and just last week three people were arrested for running a major illegal streaming network in the UK by the West Midlands Police.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.