How to Avoid Online Gambling Scams
It is an unfortunate fact of life that wherever there is money to be made, there is an equal amount of opportunities for someone to try and trick you out of it; sports betting is certainly no exception to this. Every day new and more ingenious scams are set up and it would be a hard task to warn you against all of them, but in this case, a little knowledge is definitely a good thing.
Some scamming tactics are relatively obvious and you may see through them immediately. However, others are far more subtle and play on the subconscious human desires to make money or become part of an elite group. Approaches vary and although it may be relatively easy to spot an amateur scammer, the professionals are a different breed altogether.
Being aware of how potential scammers may operate is definitely a good way to avoid being duped. Generally speaking, sticking to reliable, licensed sportsbooks that you have selected yourself is a step in the right direction and those based in your home country are always a good choice. While you may not make a fortune overnight, at least you can rest assured that your money is in safe hands.
In this guide, you will learn:
- The type of scams you might encounter
- What are the most common warning signs
- How to protect yourself from scammers
A Typical Scam Example
The most prevalent sports betting scams involve the use of Internet technologies and targeting a vulnerable demographic. One such example is “sports investment” opportunities. Usually run at a high level, with plenty of glossy literature and fancy website information made readily available to potential victims, these schemes are very often billed as limited time offers, with plenty of pressure applied by sales personnel to get you to sign up quickly.
Another example is syndication. Often, the approach will be that you have been personally selected to join a unique group of elite ‘members’ where you may be persuaded to part with a substantial joining fee, agree to make ongoing payments and to bet only with a specific sportsbook on preferential terms. You may also be promised a percentage of the sportsbooks profits as an additional incentive.
Lastly, but on a lower level are offers of either computer software or a personalised tip service promising much better ‘inside’ top tips available to you before anyone else. Most of these are reasonably harmless attempts to extract relatively small amounts of money in subscriptions, rather than having an ulterior motive. In reality, such promises are empty and the information they provide is nothing you cannot find for yourself using the Internet and the usual media sources.
Why Sports Betting Scams Exist
The simple answer to why sports betting scams and scandals exist at all is human greed! Unfortunately, they are made much more straightforward to set up thanks to the Internet; aided and abetted by the prevalence of mobile devices.
Most people find the opportunity to make extra money very tempting indeed and do not always think through the scenario on offer. Sometimes it is made very easy for scammers to fool someone just by ‘blinding them with science’, for example sounding official or portraying themselves as an expert in their field and using vague, undefined terminology.
Fear of ‘missing out’ is another factor that scammers find easy to play on. Phrases such as “special edition”, “limited time opportunity” and “elite membership” catch out a surprising number of otherwise astute individuals
How You Can Spot a Scam
If it sounds too good to be true – it most likely is. Keep that in the forefront of your mind whenever an opportunity arises unexpectedly. There is a series of relatively visible ‘danger signs’ that you need to be aware of which indicate that all is not as it should be.
Most scammers do not use standard approaches. They will contact you cold rather than as a follow up to information requested; this could be by phone, e-mail or post. Requests for payment by unusual methods such as wire transfer and cryptocurrency could be another indicator that an offer is not legitimate.
Always confirm that a company’s contact details are traceable; PO Box numbers and mobile phone numbers are unacceptable, as is a website that does not use https:// at the start of its URL. There are a few other potential ploys worth avoiding which may or may not be significant: offers (usually via e-mail) which display a poor grasp of grammar, which repeatedly states that the opportunity is “NOT a scam” and include links to a website that is only showing a landing page with no other navigation options.
There is a series of relatively visible ‘danger signs’ that you need to be aware of which indicate that all is not as it should be.
How to Avoid Being a Victim
Scams are becoming increasingly prevalent and it will pay you dividends to do your homework and to investigate all of the potential pitfalls that you may meet in this industry. Legitimate investment opportunities are rare and they do not come with blurb that is full of jargon, a short time limit to get involved or a whole set of requirements to extract your winnings or investment as and when you choose.
Always seek transparency in your dealings with any individual or company that is in the sports betting industry. Any legitimate business will have no issues with answering your questions or allowing you as much thinking time as you need. It will also display authentic company information, which can be verified and usually a specific contact name.
Today’s internet age has made you highly accessible to predators. The information available can include your search preferences, personal details and even private contact details. With this in mind, it is highly unwise to respond in any way to unsolicited contact, either by phone or by e-mail (do not open links). Reject such approaches immediately and if deemed appropriate, reported to the authorities. For more help and advice on online scams or scams, in general, please visit the resources below;
- BBC iWonder - How do I Avoid Being Ripped Off
- Which? Consumer Rights - Internet Scams
- Neighbourhood Watch - Online Scams
- Gambling Commission - Gambling Scams And Fraud
Adam has been an author for us since our launch in 2012. When it comes to all thing’s sports and betting, Adam knows his stuff. Having worked in the industry for most of his adult life in a variety of positions he’s definitely experienced.