Adam’s taken for a ride on a horse betting scam

Adam received a glossy brochure promoting the benefits of investing in the sporting industry using gambling software. The software is designed to predict wins and losses of particular sporting events so that investors can make regular bets based on 'industry knowledge'. There were plenty of facts and figures showing high returns and pictures of attractive people enjoying the high life at glamorous sporting events. All he had to do was buy the software, outlay $20 000 and follow the program.

Don’t be enticed by reports of past performance or graphs showing high returns. Just hang up, press delete or put the offer in the bin.

‘The initial managed horse lay trading account cost $20 000 but only made about $2000, well short of the promised returns. I rang the helpline and was then offered the opportunity to upgrade to a better program for another $25 000. I argued that the first program hadn’t made anywhere near the promised $20 000, so why would I invest another $25 000?

‘She argued that with the new program I could be making up to $5000 a month on it. I argued that I hadn’t even made my money back and you want to upgrade me.

After several days of badgering I submitted to the upgrade. In due course, my betting account with Betfair was drained on several occasions after I had to top it up for them to keep betting.’

After many more calls to the helpline, Sharon would no longer return Adam's phone calls.

‘Enter Johnny, who rang and said if I could invest more funds to bring it up to $70 000, the company would invest $30 000 to make it $100 000 for the corporate package. I hesitated a bit but was persuaded to do it. I ended up investing the full $100 000 to which I was then informed that I needed to add $25 000 for the betting or investment fund to work.

‘I argued that nothing was said about another fund. He said well you need to do it or you lose the $100 000.’

Adam reluctantly sent the $25 000. A week later he was informed that he needed to pay another $10 000 as he hadn’t fully paid for an earlier upgrade.

‘Again I argued that the system didn’t deliver what they said it would do. They said that if I didn’t pay, the system wouldn’t work properly. I paid it, only to be told that I need to pay a hefty fee to release my funds. I didn’t pay and was told "bad luck you lose it all"’.

Adam realised too late that the scammers will just keep asking for more money, and the returns will never eventuate.

*The story above is based on one or more real scam reports received by the ACCC. For privacy purposes the names and images of victims have not been used.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you've been scammed or know someone who has, report it to the ACCC using our report a scam page.

If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.