Online gambling’s rise means that, alongside with having the flexibility to punt whenever you like, you are now more vulnerable as a punter than ever before. With the wealth of new prospects opened up by the online sphere, it can be almost impossible to divine what is an opportunity and what isn’t.
So, what are the scams you need to watch out for online and how can you stop them?
Phishing Attacks: These are a form of scam called ‘social engineering’. A phishing attack is an attempt to trick you into divulging your personal information over the phone or by email, with perpetrators looking for credit card details, account passwords and personal details. These are normally unprompted calls that come out of the blue and look to verify your registration with a site or emails offering too-good-to-be-true deals. They can be stopped by simply refusing to volunteer any details. If you’re worried you might be missing a genuine opportunity, chase them up later through official channels embedded in a company’s site or bricks and mortar premises.
Offshore Sites: While placing a punt on a lesser-known site may offer great odds, if anything goes wrong with your bet you can find yourself without legal recourse to get your money back. Any site registered within the UK must abide by UK Gambling Commission rules and guidelines. Those registered within the EU are compelled to abide be Eurozone law. With an embarrassment of sites on the go, it’s common to not double-check a site’s registration. If they will be difficult to pursue for payment of funds, it’s best giving them a second thought.
Offsite Fraud: Another infamous red flag can be seen when individuals (site staff, punters, and tipsters alike) ask for contact outside of the site in the pursuit of making money off a ‘sure thing’. There is no way to verify the validity of their statements and – unfortunately – numerous individuals have been burned by not stopping and thinking twice. Unvetted individuals passing along tips should never be interacted with. In fact, genuine tipsters actively want to be checked out. Being in possession of a verified record shows that they not only know their stuff and have nothing to hide. And while it would be nice to have a sure bet in play, unfortunately there’s no such thing in the world of legal and scam-free punting.
Cyber Attacks: With the WannaCry ransomware virus making the news recently, being attacked by a targeted bug may be on a lot of punter’s minds. However, attacks on such scale are quite uncommon. The reality is that the effort and risk involved for criminals is simply not worth the pay-out of your online wallet. Attacks are more likely to be opportunistic in nature and rely on poor password protection, attacking an unsecured computer, or your clicking on a dodgy pop-up.
However, if you have been affected by a scam, there are many key steps that you can take to secure your account and take steps to re-acquiring your readies.
How Should You Act If Affected?
If you have been affected, it’s critically important that you act quickly, methodically and walk through the steps below:
Contact Your Bank: Confirm the fraud with your bank and ask them to place a Fraud Alert on your personal credit report. Ask for copies of this to be sent to you directly for your own record keeping and timeline.
Contact The Police: Report the crime and ask for further advice. Depending on the nature of the fraud they will be able to confirm further steps to take that are specific to your reported situation.
Contact The Company Where The Fraud Occurred: Let them know to freeze all accounts and ask to be cc’d in on their internal tracking on resolving the issue.
Gather All Evidence: Keep hold of any communications with the individual or information they have provided you with – these can then be supplied to the authorities.
Contact An Institution: If you require further guidance, companies like Action Fraud are the leaders in the UK for dealing with any issues and providing support and guidance.
Stay Alert In Future: Even above the money that is in your wallet, there is a strong likelihood that your details will be sold to other scammers. Even if you are not at a loss, it’s important to be extra vigilant for an unsolicited communication going forward.
What Are Some Top Tips About Scams?
While it’s important to stay abreast of news about the latest scams, there are some simple ways that you can be more secure and stop your punting from being disrupted.
Checking the security certification for the website: Any online site worth its salt now is classified as HTTPS. This is a data transmission protocol that ensures any data you are sending is full and secure.
Check the security protocols for your online purse and/or bank: Any modern bank will have steps and procedures in place to stop individuals from directly accessing your accounts. You can easily give your bank a call or check their security measures online. E-Wallets can also be a great way to create a stopgap between you and your accounts and should be given serious consideration by all regular punters.
Make sure the site is reputable: Always check to make sure exactly where the online site is registered. Sites such as TrustPilot is great for getting a solid review of the site. Having a look at reviews can also be very revealing about the quality of service you can expect. While a mass of bad reviews can be a red flag, take a critical look at how customer complaints are being resolved. A site with a few short strong reviews may be a less reliable bet than one with some more middling reviews but prompt, reasonable responses to their queries.
Do not give out any of your personal information: Ultimately, the best tool you can equip yourself with is a healthy dose of suspicion and side-helping of common sense. Make sure that you keep a secure record of all your passwords and make sure they are alphanumeric, strong, and saved on your system using password management software. Also make sure that you run regular scans and updates on your hardware and never go online without checking for the latest updates to your antivirus and security system. When offline, make sure that regularly review your account receipts and monthly outgoings to look out for any payments or purchases that don’t appear to stack up. Also, always make sure that you never, ever open any attachments sent to you via email from a site or individual that that is unfamiliar to you.