How to protect against online gambling scams: expert advice
20 May 2014
The allure of money for nothing is too great for many, especially if the options are freely available on a computer or mobile device. It’s no wonder then that online casinos and betting on horse races has become so popular. But just like in the real-world betting industry, legitimate online businesses exist side by side with scams that make use of spam mailings to reach their potential targets. To help protect against those scams Kaspersky Lab has compiled a list of recommendations for those who like gambling online.
Spam advertising online casinos is sent in all the major languages used online, but most of it is in English. The fraudulent websites advertised in spam are predominantly hosted in countries where gambling is legal, but the site will be accessible to users all over the world. This suits the fraudsters because it will be difficult for victims to find the owners of a website that has already disappeared from the Internet and was registered in a different part of the world.
How to spot an illegal site
- Scammers use cheap domain zones such as net, biz, info.
- Illegal casinos operate without a license
- Scammers use spam to advertise their sites (unlike legal online casinos)
- Fraudulent casinos are usually created shortly before spam mailings and have a short lifespan
Email messages devoted to betting on horse racing are another type of fraud that is particularly popular with “gambling” spammers. Sweepstake-related spam is especially widespread in Japan, but also increasingly popular in the US and Russia. In order to receive an accurate prediction, the potential client usually has to make an advance payment. The site promises to reimburse any losses if the prediction is wrong, but, of course, that doesn’t happen.
The criminals use a similar approach in alleged match-fixing scams that invite users to pay for information about “guaranteed” winners.
“If you gamble online, try to follow these simple rules. First, never register at websites that are advertised in spam. Second, only place bets on reputable sites – check the Internet for user reviews. Third, ignore email letters that claim, for example, that you have been randomly selected as a lottery winner,” commented Tatyana Kulikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
More information about “gambling spam” can be found at securelist.com.