We Know: How to Avoid Online Gambling Scams


Where will I encounter gambling scams online?

Wherever you find money online, you'll find people trying to take it from you illegally. Gambling sites are no exception. While there are many legitimate gambling sites online that follow their own rules, there are also many scams and poseurs. Worse, there is next to no regulation, so few gambling scammers are ever punished for their misdeeds.


What are some of the Types of Gambling Scams?

You'll find as many gambling scams are out there as there are scammers. It's a very new frontier, and most people are struggling with how it works, not how people can steal your money in online gambling. Some types of scams are:

  • Fake Sites. You've seen the flashing, blinking, strobing advertisements about big payouts! easy money! Well, don't trust them -- any of them. Frequently, scammers will clone an entire existing site -- this is very easy to do -- and replace information about where your credit card goes with their own information. Protect yourself by:
    • Bookmarking your trusted gambling sites
    • Adding these sites to your browser's trusted-sites list
    • Never entering credit card information if you have any doubt as to a site's legitimacy - this includes misspellings, things that don't look "right," poorly copied images, etc.
  • Putting an Internet Gaming Commission logo on their site -- this is so easy to do without earning it, it's laughable.
  • Writing fake "reviews" and even putting together entire "review" sites that praise their gambling site.
  • Telemarketing or cold-calling with try-it-now-or-lose-forever schemes in which your credit card number passes hands.
  • High bonus offerings, as in 25% or over, or when you sign up and haven't gamed yet. These sites are generally new and stand a high likelihood of folding, taking your money with them.
As you can see, there are many ways your money can be stolen online.


How can I protect myself?

  1. First, never trust a site you're not familiar with. Play free games first, and if they have an IGC logo on their site, email the IGC and ask if they are legitimate.
  2. Never trust deals that are too-good-to-be-true, because they almost always are.
  3. Pay attention to the address line in your browser. If the name of the site you frequent looks subtly wrong, or if it comes up as numbers instead of a website name, you may be looking at a cloned fake site.
  4. Find a newsgroup or review group for gaming sites and stick with it; your fellow gamblers will know about scams more quickly than anyone else.
  5. Find contact information on the site you want to gamble at. Look for phone numbers and street addresses; verify them with an online reverse phone number lookup and reverse street address lookup. Finally, call the sites and ask them what their street address is; if they're hesitant to tell you, or give you a PO box, don't trust them. If you can't find any contact information, run.
  6. Finally, you can read scam alerts on websites that monitor the industry.


Is there any industry protection or government protection?

Always remember that online gambling is not a controlled industry. It's also very international, one of the most international businesses we've ever seen in the world. There is no guarantee if your money's scammed away that you can get it back. Gamble in small amounts at first, and resist any heavy-pressure tactics to increase your betting, even if you're winning. Remember, you haven't won until you get a check from the online casino.

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