Online gaming can be a fun alternative to games in casinos or to provide some practice before hitting the casino floor, but it’s important to exercise caution and recognize legitimate games from scams.
Below, you’ll see some common types of online gaming scams and learn how to protect yourself from them.
Free Play or Credits
We all love getting free credits or free play at our favorite games and often these offers are legitimate. But be extra careful and read the fine print when a phone app or game offers you free play in exchange for watching ads or participating in quizzes. Now, some of these offers are again legitimate, but please read the fine print as many scams will ask for your cell phone number so they can text you the results of your quiz when in reality they may be signing you up for a monthly subscription service such as ringtone downloads or weather forecasts. If you do participate in these free credit offers, be sure to look at your cell phone bill to see if you’ve been enrolled in a program you didn’t actually want to enroll in.
Online casino scams can be hard to distinguish since there are a variety of legitimate online casinos, but two indicators that these casinos may be too good to be true are large free bonus plays after you’ve put down a sizable deposit or offering extremely good odds on the games.
We all want the odds to be in our favor, but compare the online odds to odds you’d see in a real casino. If it’s too good to be true, better do some extra research on the website or online casino before offering over credit card or personal information. See if they’re listed on scam sites or if other online gamblers have had issues with the site and take the time to read the fine print carefully. If you cannot find the terms and conditions or the site isn’t willing to send you a copy, do not submit any information or play any of its games.
Tips for recognizing an illegal business also include the use of a cheap domain such as .net, .biz., or .info. Scammers will also use spam emails to lure you to the site whereas legitimate casinos will not. If an email from an online casino ends up in your junk box, it’s better to leave it where it lies. If the website doesn’t show where it’s licensed and regulated, it’s a major red flag. Legitimate casinos will say where they’re operating out of and what state or country they’re licensed through.
Another scam conducted through online casinos is a phishing scheme. Once you’ve registered on a site, you’ll get an email asking for your password or to confirm a recent change to your account. The email will contain a link to a website masked to look like the site you know and asks for your username and password. These sites then use the correct information to get into your account and steal other information you’ve put there, such as bank account details or credit card information.
When you receive emails like this, double check your account on the site you trust first or contact them directly and ask if they’ve sent out emails for password changes/confirmations.
Protecting yourself from online casino scams takes time and practice, learning to identify the components of an honest game and noticing the red flags of spam sites. Take your time to review the site, find its terms and conditions, and see how it accepts payment. If the site only allows cash payments you probably won’t see that cash back in your pocket. Most regulated online casinos will accept a variety of payment methods from eChecks, credit or debit cards, PayPal, or Western Union.
To practice spotting these red flags, there are online games you can play to learn how to protect yourself from online scams. OnGuardOnline provides educational videos and games on recognizing phishing, email hacking, identity theft, and more.