OSINT Blog / Post

June 19, 2024

Privè Global Events Exposed in a Multisport Hospitality Scam

As the annual revenue for the global sports market races towards the half-trillion-dollar mark, a new scam in Formula One has revealed the market's vulnerability to fraud and deception.

Recently, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) highlighted an illicit operation by Privè Global Sports Ltd, also known as Privè Global Events. Privè brazenly entered into the hospitality package market, promising exclusive experiences to unsuspecting fans of Formula One and other prestigious events like the Ryder Cup, Royal Ascot, and the ICC World Cup. Privè Global Events was not authorized to sell these packages, however, nor did they secure access through the entities putting on these events.

With some simple tools and techniques, Privè Global Events' schemes and tactics are plainly exposed for what they were: fraud. Upon taking a deeper look at the operation, security teams and fraud professionals are reminded of what they are up against as well as how open-source intelligence (OSINT) can enable them to better protect potential victims while safeguarding the integrity of high-profile, in-demand events.

Breaking Down Privè Through OSINT

As is the case with many digital investigations, a reasonable place to start would be with Privè's website, https://www.Privèglobalevents.com/. While FIA's blog article above resulted in this website getting taken down, this does not actually mean the company's digital footprint vanished or that the historical information on the website does not have significant value.

A visit to the Internet Archive reveals a cached version of the website's homepage, accessible here: https://web.archive.org/web/20231114105251/https://www.Privèglobalevents.com/. This archived page provides crucial context and data for the investigation, which we will now explore.

 

 

With the web address in hand, investigators can perform domain name searches and WHOIS lookups. The site WHOIS offers comprehensive WHOIS registration details, while Easy Counter can shed light on a domain's historical registration information.

Unfortunately, a search for Privè Global Events' domain at https://www.easycounter.com/report/Privèglobalevents.com reveals a lack of significant historical registrant data. The information available does indicate, however, that Privè Global Events is a relatively recent venture, with the WHOIS record showing a website registration date of March 21, 2023.

 

Next, investigators can uncover additional information on the website at https://www.scamadviser.com/check-website/Privèglobalevents.com. This site reveals that the webpage was created using Wix.com, a platform known for its templates that enable quick and easy design and publication of professional-looking websites.

 

 

An examination of the contact information on the archived homepage yields details that can be further researched across the public domain.

 

 

A search for the listed phone number reveals no links to social media accounts, but a Google search indicates that the number +442070888349 is tied to scam calls and Nexbridge Communications Limited, a company that hosts phone numbers for call centers.

 

 

From here, a social media search for the profile mentioned on the website leads to a match, and the business's page is still active at https://www.instagram.com/Privèglobalevents/.

 

 

In addition, a LinkedIn hyperlink on the website redirects to Wix's YouTube page, showing how hastily the webpage was created and published.

Another suspicious aspect of the Privè Global Events homepage is its blog posts. These posts feature headlines identical to those in The Guardian, including "Red Bull are in a class of their own once again, but is this an issue for F1?" and "Saka confirms status as England's greatest hope for taking the next step." This mirroring of headlines suggests that the blog content may have been plagiarized, a tactic seemingly employed to enhance their credibility with potential victims.

 

 

Beyond the company's website, investigators can also explore corporate information on registration sites like Companies House or OpenCorporates. The official records for Privè Global Events show that the business was initially registered as VALAMUS LTD by then-Director Harvey Stock on March 27, 2020. On March 23, 2023, Jay Bains, as the new Director, assumed control of the business and renamed it Privè GLOBAL SPORTS LTD.

Companies House does not require proof of identification or address for business registration. This means that an individual's personal details and home address might be used to register a company without their knowledge or consent; it is therefore possible that the details associated with the registered business could belong to a suspect or an innocent victim.

According to the company website, the business has four offices with an HQ in the Shard in London.

 

 

In stark contrast, the registered office address for the business is a semi-detached house in Wolverhampton, England.

 

 

A LinkedIn post further reveals that Privè Global Events had been distributing letters falsely claiming to be from the FIA. These letters, supposedly confirming the allocation of hospitality passes to its customers, prominently featured the FIA's name and logo, along with the names of actual FIA staff members. This was done without the knowledge or consent of the FIA as part of an effort to deceive potential victims.

 

Based on relatively quick research into a company's website and registration data, intelligence, investigation, and security professionals can assess the risk posed by organizations purporting to be associated with commercial sporting entities. Utilizing open-source information allows for the rapid undertaking of proactive investigations into potential threats, facilitating the timely and efficient execution of disruption actions when necessary.

Going a Step Further with Situational Awareness

Being reactive is one thing; being proactive is another. Commercial sporting organizations can, and should, also employ situational awareness tools to conduct comprehensive social listening across the surface web, forums, and social media to detect and counteract scam companies like Privè Global Events.

Security teams can use these situational awareness tools to search publicly available discussions for keywords related to their organization, such as event names alongside keywords like "tickets" and "hospitality packages," to discover unauthorized offerings. Security professionals should create lists of keywords related to scams, fraud, fake tickets, and unapproved vendors to automatically scan for these terms in conjunction with their events. 

The right situational awareness tool ensures that relevant content is actively discovered and flagged through real-time alerts, allowing security teams to detect early threat signals and take swift action to investigate and mitigate potential frauds like Privè before they gain traction.

Automating OSINT for Event Security

Privè Global Events is just one of many fraudulent organizations run by criminals seeking to exploit the world of sports and special events for financial gain. To preserve the atmosphere and operations of large events, security and investigation teams in affiliated organizations must leverage the power of OSINT to enable the effective detection and disruption of threat actors.

Integrating OSINT into event security strategies can significantly improve outcomes for law enforcement agencies and security professionals. Harnessing the combined power of situational awareness and OSINT investigation in a single end-to-end OSINT platform enables organizations to optimize resources and save time while consolidating tools and subscriptions.

At Skopenow, we empower our customers to more effectively and efficiently assess threats, mitigate risk, and conduct online investigations. Start unlocking the power of open-source intelligence with a free trial today: www.skopenow.com/try.