While the age of the Internet has created immense and unique opportunities for both individuals and businesses alike, it has also introduced new challenges in the form of cybertheft and online scams.
These challenges have become increasingly pronounced as technological advancement has continued at pace, while the risk of fraud and online scams remains particularly high in vast and lucrative markets such as iGaming.
In this post, we’ll offer some generic advice on how expats can avoid online scams, while looking at how sites such as scams.info compares legitimate operators to help safeguard online gamblers.
General Advice for Expats Who Want to Avoid Online Scams
At present, it’s estimated that 5.5 Brits live permanently as expats abroad, with this representing nearly one in 10 of the total UK population.
Make no mistakes; these individuals are arguably more at risk of online scams than Brits who reside at home, due to potential language and cultural differences that may place them at risk when navigating the industry.
Fortunately, there are some universal steps that expats can take to safeguard themselves online, with the first being to keep their eyes peeled for fake or rogue websites.
To begin with, you should always translate a website’s landing page into English where possible, even if you have a grasp of your new local language.
So, if you get an email that claims to be from a financial institution that you bank with, this will help ensure that you’re being directed to the official website and not a hastily constructed and fake alternative.
The same principle applies to tax bodies such as HMRC or multinational companies that you’ve previously dealt with, particularly those that are based overseas and you may not be familiar with.
You should be similarly weary when receiving emails that are supposedly branded, especially if they ask for sensitive financial information or come complete with an attachment and prompt you to open this.
The reason for this is simple; as email attachments may contain spyware and malware viruses that enable others to hack your accounts and steal data without you even knowing.
You should also make sure that your spam feature is enabled to highlight potentially fraudulent messages, while taking particular care when reviewing messages that are sent in a foreign language.
How to Navigate Online Gambling Sites Safely
Across the globe, coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns have triggered hikes in online gambling activity, with the majority of expats throughout the world having been affected by this.
This potentially increases the risk of being scammed, with the exponential growth of the world’s iGaming market having created an army of rogue operators that have looked to capitalise on this and fraudulently steal customer’s data.
OK, we hear you ask, but how can you identify reputable online gambling sites from those that are rogue and susceptible to fraud?
To begin with, you need to ensure that the iGaming sites that you use display their licensing information prominently on the homepage (usually towards the bottom).
Every reputable online casino or sportsbook is required by law to share this information with their customers, including the unique license number, the name of the relevant regulatory body and their associated headquarters.
For iGaming brands that operate in the UK marketplace, for example, the laws dictate that they need to be fully regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
However, the relevant licensing body will vary from one jurisdiction to another, with the Malta Gaming Authority another prominent player within the European marketplace.
From a technical perspective, you should also prioritise licensed sites that boast 128-bit SSL encryption as a minimum requirement. This level of encryption will safeguard your personal information and the integrity of your financial transactions, as it creates an additional dimension of security that’s almost impossible to hack.
This type of encryption and the site’s core technology should also be independently verified and tested by specialists in the iGaming marketplace, and once again this should be advertised clearly on the brand’s website and independent casino reviews.
All reputable casino sites should also utilise random number generator (RNG) software, which guarantees transparency and ensures that individual game outcomes are entirely random and not subject to any kind of identifiable sequence.
Additionally, UK law in particular requires casinos to publish the detailed and accurate return-to-player (RTP) rates associated with individual games. The RTP rate refers to the average amount of cash that players can expect to recoup for every £1 spent, with most low-variance slots boasting a return of 96% or more.
If an online casino doesn’t publish its average RTP rate (or relevant data for individual games), it may be a rogue operator and one that utilises its library to complete a virtual scam!