SCAMwatch is warning punters this racing season to be cautious of investing in expensive betting schemes and software packages which make false claims of guaranteed winnings.
Scammers may try to draw you in with misleading promises of money back guarantees, risk-free profits and a cooling off period in case you change your mind, but these are rarely honoured. If you are contacted out of the blue about one of these schemes don’t get scammed - hang up the phone or discard the letter.
There is no such thing as a risk-free way to make money on the horses. These schemes are often camouflaged as legitimate investments when they are merely just a form of gambling and, in many cases, outright scams. Some will even use glossy brochures or professional looking websites to lure you in.
Ask yourself: If these systems produce a guaranteed profit, why are they trying to sell the scheme to me instead of using it to make millions themselves?
The reality is that you have to pay large sums to enter a betting scheme or to purchase betting software (even as much as $15,000), plus ongoing bets and fees. Some promoters claim to use this money to place bets on behalf of the scheme and you are supposed to receive a percentage of the profits. Often bets aren’t actually placed and you are unlikely to be given access to any profits.
If you fall victim to these scams, you will never get your money back. Scammers use false names and addresses and most victims report that they cannot contact the trader once the sale has been processed.
Some victims have reported credit card fraud after providing their credit card details. There is also a strong risk of identity fraud as customers who want to withdraw money from a scheme may be asked for copies of identity documents.
- The promoter is very persistent and, if you hesitate, will pressure you to buy through offers of special pricing, claims that price rises are imminent, or that memberships and trial periods are only available ‘today’.
- You may be told you can 'try before you buy'. Be alert - during the trial period, your online account may show significant profits. These profits may not be real and may disappear when the trial ends.
- Not all registered companies are reputable. Registering is cheap and easy to do and doesn’t mean a company is trustworthy.
- The promoter claims that your credit card provides merchant insurance in case you are unhappy with your purchase.
- The promoter claims the profits are ‘tax free’ or requests payment via affiliated overseas companies “so you don’t have to pay GST”.
- Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics. Sports betting scammers are highly skilled at selling—they will say anything to suck you in.
- Don’t be enticed by reports of past performance or graphs showing high returns. Scammers lie!
- Don’t believe claims that places are limited. Scammers are happy to take anyone’s money, at any time.
- If you think you have provided your account details or paid money to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.
For more information check out the Sports investment scams page on SCAMwatch or our Sports ‘investment’ scams factsheet [no longer available].
SCAMwatch has also issued the following radars on sports betting scams in the past: