How online scammers may be using your identity without you knowing it

College student using laptop

Scamming and criminal behaviour has become more and more subtle over time. From the not-so subtle Viking’s that would rape and pillage, to pick-pockets in the 1700s and to now – online scams cost us billions a year, in Australia alone. 

One that is virtually unknown, and to an extent can be harmless, is bonus abuse fraud. The online betting industry is incredibly competitive in Australia and as a result, the online bookmakers offer people $100s in bonus bets to bet with them. There are currently 150+ online betting sites in Australia and although they are not allowed to advertise it, many still offer their customers bonus bets.

Creating a betting account is usually a two minute process, and you just need your Name, DoB and an Address that is unique to you. Email addresses can be made by scammers in no time, and most bookmakers don’t verify you by phone. So all someone needs to know is your name, birthday and address and they can steal your identity and abuse the bonuses. 

As mentioned, it can be argued that it is a victimless crime (apart from the bookmakers), as most people weren’t going to create an account with 150+ betting sites anyway. However, it is definitely icky knowing that someone (and possibly, someone you know) is using your credentials to sign up at betting sites. If someone has managed to get ahold of your ID, they will have further access than just betting sites, and will be able to open up buy now, pay later accounts in your name, which you won’t know about until the debt collector comes knocking.

There is little way of knowing if you have been affected without signing up to every bookmaker in the country, and then signing up to the national betting exclusion, BetStop, if you have been affected. However, BetStop is kind of a permanent solution, so if you were affected and still like to have a bet recreationally, BetStop would not be the answer for you. All bookmakers are aware of this issue and will happily shut down any account they suspect (or if you inform them) that is a scam, but the scammers are constantly evolving also.