ROCKFORD (WREX) — With the NFL Playoffs and the Superbowl events only weeks away, the Better Business Bureau is reminding sports fans about running into potential sports betting scams.
“The popularity of sports betting has exploded, and scammers developed more tricks to score a touchdown with your hard-earned cash,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.
“Also increasing the football fever are the millions of fans drawn to follow teams, players, and statistics by Fantasy Football Leagues.”
For the past few years, a trend of micro betting has been on the rise.
This form of betting involves wagering on the outcome of very specified short-term plays during the game, like who will get the ball or how many yards will be gained. The bet is not just on which team will win.
The increase of betting opportunities raises the stakes for potential scams.
In 2019, Illinois legalized online and in-person sports betting.
Almost 20% of American adults bet on sports at least once a month, according to Morning Consult, a business intelligence company.
Furthermore, according to a recent survey, 31% of sports betters are aged 35 to 44 and 28% are younger, ages 21 to 34.
Horton says, “What the scammers do is create online lookalike legal sports betting operations. BBB Scam Tracker is seeing reports from people who accidentally placed bets with scam sports betting websites or apps.”
There are good sports handicappers and then scammers who imitate them.
According to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, con artists are pretending to be self-proclaimed handicappers who use insider information to place guaranteed bets on upcoming games.
Another scam involves coming across a social media post or email about an experienced handicapper with a record of picking consistent wins.
This handicapper is reportedly using inside information to place “sure-thing” bets on upcoming games. The post or email says that for a fee, you can get in on it too.
This scammer is so confident in their insider knowledge that they even make you a money-back guarantee.
This con artist “handicapper” never will return on his promises.
Instead, the scam victim is running the risk of losing not only money, but valuable personal information and data.
Tips to avoid sports betting scams:
- Look for an established, approved betting service.
Look for your area’s gaming commission’s approved sportsbooks. Use BBB.org to research trusted companies.
- Don’t fall for tempting ads.
Ignore and do not click on gambling-centric pop-up ads, spam emails, or text messages to your phone.
- Read the fine print on the incentives.
Gambling sites and apps frequently offer incentives or bonuses to new users and around major games. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
- Even legitimate sports betting sites have the right to freeze your winnings.
Be sure to check the terms of service.
- Avoid scam sports “handicappers.”
A scammer’s goal isn’t to win bets for members. Instead, it’s to get people to buy their picks. Once you’ve bought their picks, the handicapper has already won. It doesn’t matter if your pick wins or loses, the handicapper keeps the payment.
- Don’t believe promises that sound too good to be true.
If a handicapper makes a promise to you that you will never lose a bet, or they will refund your money any time you do, think again. Scammers love to entice their victims with get-rich-quick schemes.