Online Casino Scams
For as long as there have been casinos, there have been players trying to get an edge over the house.
From players finding biased tables which leaned to the left (and leaned towards certain numbers) to edge-sorting, card-marking, and card-counting, scammers have always existed to take as much money as they can.
But the online casino revolution has led to a new generation of players trying to milk the gambling sites.
Outright fraud is rare, and stories of casino hackers are few and far between, but there are enough people out there trying their best to get one over on the casinos and their money. Here, we take a look at some genuine (and not so genuine) concerns players can have over fraudulent behaviour.
Protecting Yourself Online
If you're worried about having your data or cash stolen, just be vigilant. Check the casino for appropriate certificates and security logos, and pick a username that's hard to work out:
5 Ways to Avoid Casino Scams
Beware Traders Selling 'Bots'
In online poker, "bots" are programs that automatically make decisions on multiple tables without the human player having to click a button.
Naturally, similar "bots" have been touted online to help crack the games and give players an advantage.
Avoid these bots like the plague. There have been reports of bots either crashing, not working at all, or installing malware onto users' computers. Of course, that all comes after the gullible casino player has forked out a lot of money to buy the "program".
Hackers and DDoS Attacks
Mainstream news has been awash with stories of sites being hit by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks in recent years.
DDoS attacks see teams of criminals target gambling websites and threaten to bring down the casino with bots and computers unless the operators pay huge amounts of money.
Bitcoin sites seem to have been the main target up to now, but a few cases of online casinos being hit have started to emerge.
Luckily for players worried about their personal details, most legit casinos keep databases "segregated" from the front-end operations side of their websites.
Hackers have been successful in the past, although mostly by hacking into online poker rooms like Facebook social site, Zynga. So far (fingers crossed), multi-million dollar thefts from online casinos have not been reported.
Multiple Accounts and Bonus Abuse
Reputable casinos clamp down heavily on bonus abusers. Bonus abuse is a typical tactic used by scammers who set up multiple new accounts and make small deposits under new usernames.
They then access the same welcome bonus and withdraw the free cash once it's been triggered. By the time the money has been cashed out it is too late and the casino has lost out.
Beware the Phishers and Scammers
"YOU CAN WIN $10,000 PLAYING MY SLOTS SYSTEM!"
You've probably seen the random posts on Facebook pages or Twitter, often accompanied by profile pics of pretty girls. Curious, you hover over the link before coming to your senses and clicking away.
Phishing scammers are still a real problem for online casino players. And even if you're a sensible player they can be damn tempting to click on.
Here's how it works: scammers claim to have a foolproof system to break casino games or win at slots. You click on the email or FB link and get taken to a website where you have to enter your credit card details. Cue lots of money flowing out of your bank account and into the scammers'.
Some casino scams even pose as credit card companies who are "offering" big-money "affiliate" deals. Be on your guard.
Licensing and Security
All good casinos employ encryption to protect data that flows in and out of their sites.
Look for the SSL certificate symbol, or similar: this is a sign the casino uses world-respected security measures to make sure all pages are safe and players' details encrypted.
External auditors are brought in regularly to test casino software as well. Usually a stipulation of a gaming licence issued by a jurisdiction, auditing makes regular checks to see that games are awarding the right prizes and casinos themselves are making accurate and fast payouts.
If a properly-licenced site uses an independent auditor like eCOGRA, who check software for fairness, they can also be used to resolve disputes. Some casinos even offer audit trails to list the wagers and payouts that have flowed through the site.
Outfits like eCOGRA, who perform audits, also have an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which allows players who think they've been scammed to make official complaints.