Online Casino Scams
Though you’ll find a ton of gambling sites where you can enjoy your favorite games at any time, you should know that not all online casinos are legitimate. Some gaming websites are fraudulent and will engage in questionable activities and scams to rid players of their money, data, or identity. Besides, hackers and other internet fraudsters pose many risks to online gamblers. Today, we discuss the different online casino scams in the USA and how you can avoid them.
What Are Online Casino Scams
These are schemes and dubious activities that casinos and cybercriminals engage in to steal users’ money, personal data, or identity. Some of the most common scams on gaming websites are deposit and identity theft, malware, and manipulated games.
Is It Possible to Stop Online Casino Scams
Undoubtedly, internet gambling frauds are a menace and must be stopped. However, ending these fraudulent activities will take time and effort. This is because as technology advances and people are being sensitized and empowered to stop fraud, scammers are also developing more sophisticated schemes to defraud people. In the meantime, players should keep abreast of possible scam activities and take all necessary precautions to avoid falling victim.
Types of Online Casino Fraud
There are many kinds of online casino schemes ranging from data and identity theft to fake promotions, RNG manipulation and gambling site malware.
Yearly, several gamblers fall victim to fraudulent schemes on online gaming websites.
Below, we discuss different casino schemes and how to identify them easily.
Non-Payment of Winnings
One of the most common activities of fake casinos is the seizure of players’ winnings. Victims of this kind of fraud will discover that after they win a game, the casino will often go AWOL when it is time to pay. Some ways to know if you have fallen victim to payment refusal include:
- The customer agents refuse to respond when you report your inability to withdraw your winnings.
- The casino gives an excuse that you have not met specific withdrawal or wagering requirements stated in their terms and conditions.
- You cannot withdraw your winnings even after you have met all requirements.
Player Deposit or Data Theft
It is typical practice for online casinos to request certain player information when you’re about to sign up. You may be asked to provide details like your full name, legal address, and banking information. Fraudulent casinos and online hackers use this window to steal players’ data, card details, and other payment information. They may also use these details to steal players’ deposits or use their identity to commit fraud on other websites. Suppose you deposit in an online casino, but it fails to appear in your account. In that case, you may have fallen victim to deposit theft.
Gambling Bonus Scams
Because of the high competition in the casino industry, a lot of online gaming sites offer bonuses and rewards to attract new players and reward existing ones. However, some fraudulent casinos use this as an opportunity to con unknowing players. These casinos promote fake bonuses to lure players with the intention of defrauding them after they make a deposit.
To avoid becoming a victim of gambling bonus scam, it is best to avoid bonuses that look too good to be true.
Players can also engage in bonus fraud by opening several accounts in the same casino to claim multiple bonuses. Such activities can cause casinos to run at a loss.
Random Number Generator Manipulation
Scams at online slots for USA players are also very common and they are often carried through manipulation of the RNG. The Random Number Generator, or RNG, is a software program that generates combinations on a slot machine every time you spin the reels. This technology ensures that the result of each spin is completely random. While the RNG is typically programmed to bring more losses than wins, some casinos manipulate the software never to put out a winning combination.
Casino collusion became very popular in the 2000s after the scandal involving two online poker sites: Ultimate bet and Absolute Poker. Casino collusion is a form of cheating where players collude to game the system. The colluding team might be players, dealers, casino staff, or a combination of all.
Card Counting & Illegitimate Online Cheating
Counting cards is a common practice among casino game players who believe this can help them get an advantage over the casino. Players can engage in card counting by using a device or their heads. Although it is not outrightly illegal, many gambling sites discourage card counting and will often ban any player caught in the act.
Freezing Funds Scams
Some venues will allow players to deposit money to play casino games only to freeze their accounts afterward. This is known as the freezing funds scam and can frustrate players. Casinos that engage in this fraudulent scheme will wait for gamblers to deposit money or accumulate their winnings and then make withdrawal impossible.
Online Casino Malware
Malware cons occur when hackers infect your computer with malicious software that lets them steal your information without your knowledge. Online casino malware is one of the most common schemes that affect casino users and comes in different forms. Often, the malware is hidden in links on gaming websites. As such, you must be careful when playing gambling games online and avoid clicking links that look suspicious.
Phishing & Ransomware
Of all cybercrimes and online casino scams, ransomware, and phishing are some of the most rampant. These can affect not only casino players but every internet user as well. Ransomware and phishing may go hand in hand. Like in fishing, cybercriminals that engage in phishing put out baits to catch online casino users. The bait may be in the form of fake email alerts from your “bank” or “credit card provider” asking you to click a link to resolve a problem with your card or bank account. When a player clicks this link, the hackers install software to access your data. They may also freeze all your files and ask you for money to get them back (ransom), hence the term “ransomware.”
Like ransomware, spyware is another malware that can affect online casino users. It is a malicious software that hackers can deceptively install on your computer. This “worm” helps them spy on your activities by transmitting information secretly from your computer hard drive to the hacker. Hackers can use spyware to steal confidential information like personal and banking details and even passwords.
A lot of casinos have apps available for players which they can download on their mobile devices and use to play gambling games anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, rogue casinos and hackers can also use this avenue to perpetrate fraud by creating fake applications. Such fake applications may contain malicious links or useless adverts that make it difficult to enjoy playing. They may also carry malware that gets installed when you download the app.
Guide on How to Avoid Online Casino Scams
Stopping online casino scams totally may not happen any time soon. As such, players need to understand the types of scams they can be exposed to and what they should do to protect themselves. Some standard precautions involve doing thorough research before signing up on an online gambling site, installing anti-malware software, and checking for casino licenses.
Online Casino License
One way to avoid becoming a victim of scam online casinos is to check that the site is licensed before registering or playing any games. Licensed online casinos are regulated by a gambling authority which ensures that they adhere to certain safe practices. While these may give you a sense of security, you should understand that some rogue casinos have a way of getting around these. Here are popular casino licensing regulatory bodies and the countries where they operate.
|United Kingdom Gaming Commission||UKGC||United Kingdom||Europe|
|British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch||–||Canada||North America|
|Malta Gaming Authority||MGA||Malta||Europe|
|Gibraltar Regulatory Authority||GRA||Gibraltar||Europe|
|South Australia Independent Gambling Authority||–||Australia||Oceania|
|Danish Gambling Authority||DGA||Denmark||Europe|
Reputation & Player Account Data Safety
Honest casinos often use security measures like SSL encryption to protect players’ data. Therefore, you should ensure you play on only legitimate sites. Sites with “https” in their URL also offer more protection than those with “http.” You can also learn about a casino’s reputation by going through reviews of them on gambling blogs and review websites.
Rigged games are one of the most common online casino gambling scams, so you must educate yourself on what is called the Return to Player or RTP. The RTP is the percentage of the amount wagered that the casino is expected to pay back to players when they win a game. The difference between the RTP and 100% is the casino’s profit or house edge.
Some casinos hide their RTPs so they can defraud players. To avoid being scammed, look out for casinos that hide their RTPs and stay away.
Online Casino Bonus Terms & Conditions
Before signing up to receive a bonus, be sure to go through the entire terms and conditions. Some casinos hide some requirements in their terms and conditions, and if you do not meet the requirement, you may have to forfeit your winnings.
Best Fair Games at Online Casinos
Look out for casinos with fair games and a website that is easy to navigate. Fraudulent online casinos often operate ambiguous gambling sites with no license or auditing body. They may refuse to display their RTP for games or operate on fake and untested gaming software. Also, RTPs below 80% may indicate that the casino is fraudulent.