At OddsMax, we are more focused on empowering our readers to understand online sports betting. In doing so, we also want to make sure that you are safe from any kind of online gambling scam.
This is why we have tried to come up with this precautionary guide to make you aware of online gambling scams. We aim at informing you how new gamblers are scammed by shady operators and what are the most common online casino scams.
Knowledge is the best chance you have to keep yourself safe when gambling online and the information shared below will better equip you to avoid them.
The Most Common Online Gambling Scams
Identity Theft via Online Gambling Scam
Interestingly, most of the sinister online gambling scams are not aimed at stealing your money but something even more valuable-your identity and your data. And believe it or not, your identity is much more valuable than your money.
Most dubious operators have professional-looking gambling websites that offer you some of the most tempting bonuses to lure you in. The real scam starts once you register and verify your account. For the verification purpose, such rogue casinos ask you to send a copy of government-issued ID and proof of address.
Now as you have already registered with them, they will have your name, address, phone number, email, date of birth and more personal information. When you provide them with your ID documents, they have all the information they need to sell your identity on the black market. Such identity theft can lead to some serious consequences such as financial fraud against you.
This is why the onus is on you to ensure the legitimately of any online casinos you’re signing up with. While there are many ways to identify genuine online casinos, but here is a quick checklist to help you verify easily.
The obvious first step is to check the status of license of any online gambling site. Any site you register with must be licensed from a regulated UK authority such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gambling Authority.
Last, as a beginner, you can depend on in-depth professional casino reviews shared by the experts in the field. Just like any other industry, online gambling industry also has professionals who share spot and highlights on suspicious operators.
No doubt that even legit casinos sell details to other operators that are used for marketing by other casinos, but what we are talking about here is a whole different level of information sharing and selling. Not only identity theft can ruin your life, but it can also cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees to clean the mess.
Spyware and Ransomware for Gambling Scams
Computer programmers and coders are capable of doing incredible things, but unfortunately, not all of them use the skills for good. Gamblers who download online casino or poker clients on their computer or laptop are most vulnerable to this type of online gambling scam.
Spyware, as the name suggests, is used by cybercriminals to spy on your computer and steal your information. This can be stealing your identity or something worse. It is not uncommon to hear people falling victims of blackmailing and extortion because of computer spyware.
Ransomware is even more complex as it entirely takes over your computer or device by encrypting the entire storage of data in a layer of impenetrable encryption. Victims of a ransomware attack can only see a message on the screen where they are asked to make a payment in cryptocurrency or to an offshore bank account to get their devices decrypted.
The real challenge here is these cybercriminals do not stop after an attack and try to extort even more money once they realise you are willing to pay. The seriousness of a ransomware attack was seen during the infamous WannaCry Attack on the UK’s National Health Service in 2017.
How to protect yourself from spyware or ransomware attack?
You are much better playing at no-download casinos and gambling sites, where you can directly play in the browser without any downloads.
If you are downloading a casino client, ensure that it originates from a safe source such as Google Play or Apple Store. Alternatively, you can download from trusted operators’ official websites.
It is mandatory for you to have quality antivirus software on your system and always keep it up to date. Updated antivirus software is enough to protect you against spyware even if it cannot always provide protection against a sophisticated ransomware attack. Before installing any casino game client scan it with your antivirus.
More and more sophisticated cyber-attacks are being devised by criminals who are advanced hackers leaving even IT professionals in a fix. This is why we recommend you play casino games directly in your web browser where no download is required.
Rigged Casino Games Scams
As you might have guessed from the heading, we are talking about dishonest casino software.
Let’s talk about rigged casino games that are used for online casino scams. As a sports gambler, you might know that every casino game has a house edge that ensures that the casino is at advantage and guarantees a profit. Even if any player wins big, it does not make an impact in the long run as there are numerous others who will lose. But when you’re playing any casino game you can predict how many spins are hands you should win to beat the house edge.
Unfortunately, there are some greedy operators who are not satisfied with the common house edge they get from the casino games. Instead, they participate in gambling scam and rig games such that no player stands a chance of winning. In doing so, they not only steal your money but also breach the code of trust that keeps the reliability of online casino games.
What about pirated games?
The pirated casino games are also rigged but they sell themselves as legit games from known brands. Some shady operators create cloned versions of popular casino games and make changes to their codebase to steal your money without you noticing that you are being scammed. It is one of the most common online casino scams.
If you ever notice that the legit games you usually play seem somewhat weird, then you should stop immediately as it can be a pirated copy. If you are sure that some online casino is using cloned games, you can report them to the original software firm as doing so is the infringement of the brand. The only action you can take in such a scenario is to go with your gut instinct and declined to play at such a casino.
Whether rigged or pirated, using cloned games is a common online casino scam devised to steal your money. You stand zero chance of winning in such games and it is better to stay away.
In online gambling scams, some scammers are genuinely creative while others just commit fraud in your face and you don’t even realise that you have been conned. The online gambling industry is full of such scams. Let’s understand this with an example.
You sign up at a casino all excited to make a deposit and receive your bonus. After registering you deposit $ 100 just to realise that you’re logged out of the casino. You repeatedly try your username and password but it doesn’t work so you lastly contact customer support. After days of trying, you don’t get any reply and you can see your $100 just been scammed out of your hands and there is nothing you can do about it
This is just a simple example of blatant theft but this online gambling scam works in all sort of ways. Some casinos lock up your funds and make you jump through endless hoops to verify your account. They keep you running from pole to pole while you run out of time to claim your bonus. Then there are some casinos that will eat away your balance with weekly or monthly inactivity fees. There are different variants of this online casino con and you must keep an eye for them.
Apart from stealing deposits, some rogue operators just refuse to pay you winnings. They will try all sorts of tactics like accusing you of cheating, finding a reason to ban you or opening investigations into your conduct, just to stall paying you until you stop making a request for a payout. The rogue casinos are the lowest scums of gambling scams. These operators ruin the fun for everyone which is why we need to make our readers aware of the tactics.
There are some tips to protect yourself against such rogue casinos.
Never believe too good to be true bonus offers. If they are too big then you can possibly believe that the casino is trying to scam you to make your deposit and pocket your hard-earned money.
You do not have to make large deposits to maximise the full welcome bonus. Any reliable casino will offer you lots of reload bonuses anyway. Always make smaller deposits of $ 20 or $ 50 and see how things go before making a bigger deposit.
Don’t be shy in putting enough research behind the brand of the casino. It does not mean that you simply google the name of the casino but reading in-depth online casino reviews and checking various forums about the behind-the-scenes scenario. Rogue casinos often have a trail behind them and frequently launch new brands to scam some more gamblers once their online gambling scams are exposed.
How to handle being a victim of online gambling scams?
Sometimes you just have to accept your fate and let your lost deposit go. You cannot spend months chasing your $100 deposit as it is a relatively insignificant amount of money. Just don’t let your inner peace get disturbed at such events that occur once-in-a-lifetime.
That being said, we are not encouraging you to not do anything but they are certain steps you can take.
Contact the relevant authorities. If you are lucky, and the scamming gambling site has a license, then you can reach the relevant authorities and reported the cheating. Your single complaint might not make an effect but if the regulators receive enough complaints they will investigate and even my revoke the operator’s license. This will prevent them from scamming any new victims.
Get other players to notice them. If you are part of any online gamblers’ community, you can expose such rogue casinos to your friends. You can participate in forums and explain your ordeal in detail which might connect you to some other players who have the same experience. This might help other gamblers who are planning to play with the same casino.
Contact reviewers online. You can share your experience with industry experts who review casinos about such online gambling scams. As these blogs get higher traffic and are authority figures, they can make other gamblers vigilant about such online gambling scams.
The gambling scams are a reality that we have to live with. These online gambling scams come in all sizes and shapes, but the above-listed scams are the most common. You should pay attention to these scams and the tell-tale signs we have detailed as this will allow you to spot them easily.
We hope that you should never have to experience any online gambling scam. You can easily prevent such scams by doing your research, reading reviews and making sure you are playing at the legit gambling site.