Australia has entered one of the biggest gambling seasons of the year, with cities and towns across the country gearing up for the horse races.
Government organisation ScamWatch is reminding gamblers not to be taken for a ride by dodgy gambling promotions.
Yesterday, ScamWatch warned punters to watch out for betting and sports investment scams which falsely promise high odds and big returns on race days.
So far this year, Scamwatch has received 184 reports of betting and sports investment scams, with almost $1.6million lost, and men were overwhelmingly likely to be affected by the scams, making three out of every four reports to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Shepparton police crime prevention officer Glenn Gibson said the scams would most likely impact on young people with an expandable income, who would easily be fooled.
Sports investment scams have been very successful and the average loss is high, at more than $18000, compared to $6000 with general scams.
Leading Senior Constable Gibson said if something appeared too good to be true, it generally was. ‘‘Because this is an online scam, it’s targeting a wider audience who could be anywhere, as opposed to a more local, general sort of scam that usually preys on the vulnerable,’’ he said.
‘‘The difference is they’re targeting people who enjoy gambling and generally prepare to risk a bit of money, so people shouldn’t be taking that risk.’’
The three main types of sports betting and investment scams are computer prediction software, betting syndicates and business opportunities or investments.
Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said scammers often used fancy brochures and technical terms to convince punters.
‘‘Do not believe anyone who says they have foolproof systems that can guarantee a profit through betting,’’ he said.
‘‘If someone can accurately predict gambling results, why would they need to sell it to you to make money?’’ Mr McCormack said.
‘‘If you are contacted by someone trying to sell you an investment opportunity or prediction software, hang up the phone, delete the email or toss the glossy brochure in the bin.’’
More information is available via the Scamwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au