There are so many types of betting scams around, with new tactics being adopted all the time. We go into a lot more detail on in the aptly named "Betting Scams" area of our BetBetter area.
The old adage "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" is relevant with every betting scam going. Guaranteed profits and huge wins are most common ways for scams to gain traction, because that's what all punters are looking for - a way to make money from sports betting. Scammers prey on punters by appearing to offer exactly what they're looking for.
The impact of betting scams on the industry
Millions of pounds are lost every single year to betting scams in the UK alone. Some isolated cases across the globe have seen punters lose eye-watering amounts of money. Read about the Adam Meyer scandal as one of the many crazy examples.
There are so many tipsters online these days it can be tough to know what can be trusted, and what is too good to be true. To avoid falling victim of a tipster scam, you'll need to do your research before joining or following a service. Has the tipster been reviewed by an independent reviewer? Do they verify their results? Do they have existing users? Do they communicate openly on social media?
Stay safe by learning about scam tactics
Here are just a few of the most common sports betting scams you may encounter in your time as a bettor, and some tell tale signs that you should keep an eye out for.
Falsifying betting records
Creating a fraudulent betting record can be easily done given the availability of historical odds, fixture and resulting data available online. Places like Oddsportal.com have historical odds from the majority of bookmakers on all major markets going back several years. With a few hours work, someone could fabricate a huge list of events that 'show' they've been profitable. The issue here is that without some sort of verification, this can be done all too easily, and it is potentially very difficult to detect. To help, here are a few things worth looking out for when determining a tipster's legitimacy:
- The website may provide limited contact details. Most tipsters have an active Twitter or Facebook profile and will answer any questions you might have
- No recorded betting history, or a very limited 'snapshot' of their success. A tipster should be able to show their itemised betting history.
- Check one of the various review sites, such as tipstersreview.co.uk. There are many offering in-depth tipster reviews, whilst others seek out betting scams and are there to help make your life easier..
- Outrageous claims with no substance are a big red flag.
Fixed match scammers
This is a scam that seems to be more prevalent on Facebook than on Twitter but it is present on both platforms. Luckily, most of you will know the chance of someone actually having fixed bet information is one in a million.The unfortunate fact is that many people still fall for these scams, which in turn keeps the perpetrators in business.
Whilst match fixing does certainly exist, what are the chances of someone who stands to make so much money from a fixed match wanting to risk their freedom and profit from betting on it by sharing the information with any Average Joe willing to hand over comparatively irrelevant amounts of money through e-Wallet? Think about it - it's zero.
So how do people attempt to scam you into believing they have real fixed match info and handing over your hard earned cash? It's actually pretty simple.
This approach starts with a 'fixed match tipster' identifying a group of people who have shown an interest in fixed matches. Take a football bet on the win/draw/win betting market as an example. We know that there are only three possible outcomes, so to just pick one outcome and pass it off as 100% is a it of a risk that could see clients go as quickly as they came.
By finding a group of around 30 people, the individual claiming to have fixed match information will request a payment for the fixed tip from each person, before proceeding to tell 10 people to bet on outcome one, 10 people to bet on outcome two and the final 10 people to bet on outcome three. 20 people are going to be on a losing outcome here, but those people will be blocked and are likely to never hear from or of the fixed match claimant other again.
The remaining 10 are now under the impression that they've just paid for a genuine fixed match and may be keen to pay even greater amounts for the next one. The same process will be repeated with the winning clients and new clients, and providing the fixed match claimant is always able to to generate a list of clients, there will also be at least one group of people who believe fixed matches are real and profitable and will continue to pay for them.
Managing a client's betting portfolio
One of the best examples of this was the case of a man from York who in 2014 was convicted of an elaborate betting scam. Over a period of four years, the convicted man managed to convince a number of people that he was a very knowledgeable and experienced bettor. Not only was he going to make his new punters consistent profit from sports betting, he also managed to convince many people to hand over the cash for him to manage in a betting account with the promise of returns.
Needless to say the returns never came and there is no evidence to suggest the bets were even placed. Many punters would be wise enough not to trust a stranger with their cash in any walk of life, but there are many busy, high-end clients out there who do rely on others to manage and oversee their betting accounts.
How to avoid various scams
Information spreads at breakneck pace online these days and there are many sources that have already weeded out a number of scams. These are dedicated services that can be found on Facebook, Twitter and various search engines.
Be aware of red flags. Things such as 'fixed matches' or claims of fixed match information;being promised specific returns;services that promote affiliate links regularly.
Never, under any circumstances, hand over amounts of money for someone to bet for you or to receive fixed match information. Do not waiver from the traditional betting strategy of paying for betting services, or perhaps even try to agree a pay after win commission type deal with your tipster.
New Twitter accounts, new Facebook accounts, new domains or a person that doesn't appear to have a very clear and transparent history is a person you may want to avoid.
A betting scam is not a betting term as such and no-one in their right mind is going to admit to partaking in a betting scam. Betting scams can be run with a focus on literally any sport and so everyone should be wary. In some cases the scammer may be a complete newbie to the betting world and that may give the game away, but in some cases some very knowledgeable punters who talk a good game have used their experience to con people into believing them.
If you're based in Europe, then the notion that someone would believe a random account working on Twitter might have a fixed match bet for a top European league is ludicrous. You wouldn't waste your time on such a person, and you might be surprised to think there's anyone out there that would. Different scams are more prevalent in different territories. The culture of buying and selling fixed match tips is very common in African countries such as Nigeria, where scammers work hard daily to chalk up a list of potential victims and apply the scattergun approach covered. Football bets are always the sport of choice when it comes to fixed match scams.
It would likely take a very inexperienced bettor to fall for any of the most common scams, but unfortunately these are the sort of people targeted. Seasoned bettors or a professional bettor can take care of themselves. They've made their friends, contacts and they have their resources in this industry. But when you're new to the game and naive to the endless well of information and tipsters that's out there, it's no surprise that betting scams do occur and do succeed.
Horse racing bets and football bets are the most popular sports for scammers to use as bait. This is because everyone knows these are the two most popular sports to attract bettors in the UK and Europe. Horse racing in particular is a draw because if you think for a second you've got a horse racing tipster that can win you bet after bet at those betting odds, your ears are bound to perk up.
Please remember that these are terms you won't encounter often because no one is going to admit they're part of a sports betting scam. The term 'fixed match' is the biggest and most commonplace red flag (at least on social media) and is not something you will ever hear from the mouth of a seasoned bettor or a professional bettor.
Sometimes, inexperienced followers of tipsters can be too quick to use the word scam or scammer out of anger when losing at the hands of their new tipster.
It's important to make sure you understand the serious implications of the term and only use it when appropriate.
If you're feeling comfortable with terminology, it might be the right time to learn about the different bet types and how to use them to your advantage.