Australia’s consumer watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning for ‘Punters’ to watch out for betting and sports investment scams which falsely promise high odds and big returns on the annual Melbourne Cup Day.
Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s best known horse racing event, held on the first Tuesday of November every year. This year’s race is tomorrow, Tuesday November 7. Cup Day is an annual public holiday in the state of Victoria, and is known in the country as “the race that stops the nation”. The main racing event takes place at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, with more than 100,000 people in attendance.
According to the ACCC, this year its Scamwatch has already received 184 reports of betting and sports investment scams, with nearly $1.6 million lost and men overwhelmingly likely to be affected by these scams, making three out of every four reports to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Australia Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack says:
Unfortunately, sports investment scams are very successful with half of the reports to Scamwatch from people who have already lost money.
The average loss is very high at more than $18,000 compared to about $6,500 for all scams. These scams are sophisticated and convincing which is why it is vital people should know the warning signs.
The three main types of sports betting and investment scams are:
Computer prediction software – scammers will try to sell people software that promises to accurately predict sporting results, for example the Melbourne Cup winner.
Betting syndicates – scammers will try to convince potential victims to join a betting syndicate. People are required to pay a hefty fee (often in excess of $15,000) to join and make regular deposits. The scammers say the funds are being used to place bets on behalf of the syndicate but in reality the scammer is pocketing all the funds.
Sports investment – these scams are usually promoted as business opportunities or investments. The scammer will use technical or financial terms such as “sports arbitrage” or “sports trading” to make these scams look legitimate. They are nothing more than a con to get people to put money into an investment that does not exist.
“Do not believe anyone who says they have foolproof systems that can ‘guarantee’ a profit through betting. If someone can accurately predict gambling results, why would they need to sell it to you to make money?” Mr. McCormack said.
“Scammers use fancy brochures and technical terms to try to convince you their ‘opportunity’ is legitimate. If you are contacted by someone trying to sell you ‘investment opportunity’ or ‘prediction software’, hang up the phone, delete the email or toss the glossy brochure in the bin.”