Ahead of the Melbourne Cup, a stern warning has been issued for punters to beware betting and sports investment scams which falsely promise high odds and big returns.
Scamwatch says it's received 184 reports of dodgy betting and sports investment scams, with nearly $1.6 million lost. Men are overwhelmingly more likely to fall victim, making three out of every four reports to the ACCC.
So what does a sports betting or investment scam look like?
- It could be scammers selling computer prediction software, which promises to accurately predict sporting results, for example the Melbourne Cup winner.
- It could be a betting syndicates, with scammers trying to convince potential victims to join a syndicate, with a heft up-front joining fee. The scammers say the funds are being used to place bets on behalf of the syndicate but in reality the scammer is pocketing all the funds.
- It could be a dodgy sports investment, promoting a business opportunity or investments. The scammer will use technical or financial terms such as “sports arbitrage” or “sports trading” to make look legitimate. They are nothing more than a con to get people to put money into an investment that does not exist.
Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack says we shouldn't believe anyone who says they have foolproof systems that can ‘guarantee’ a profit through betting.
“Unfortunately, sports investment scams are very successful with half of the reports to Scamwatch from people who have already lost money,” Mr McCormack said. "The average loss is very high at more than $18,000 compared to about $6,500 for all scams. These scams are sophisticated and convincing which is why it is vital people should know the warning signs."