Australian watchdog warns of online casino phishing scams


australian-telecom-watchdog-online-casino-phishing-malwareAustralia’s telecom watchdog is warning local gamblers that promotional come-ons from international online casinos could be a front for spreading malware or stealing personal information.

This week, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a ‘scam alert’ advising gamblers to “be wary of suspicious emails or SMS claiming to be from online gambling websites offering credit or in-game bonuses.”

ACMA member Fiona Cameron said the watchdog had identified a ‘significant’ spike in the number of complaints regarding emails and text messages promoting a variety of online casinos, with the most common complaints citing Roo Casino, Pokie Spins, Bonza Spins and Syndicate Casino as the sources of their discontent.

Cameron said these messages – over 6k cases of which have been identified this year – offered users the chance of obtain free spins and/or upfront credit but warned that these campaigns were nothing more than “a phishing expedition to steal your identity or infect your computer with malicious malware.”

Australia’s gambling laws only permit online sports betting, making all online casino activity illegal (along with online in-play betting and online lottery scratch tickets). Australian law also prohibits its online betting licensees from offering punters lines of credit (although they can still wager with their own credit cards).

Cameron warned that the “scammers” behind these promos were betting on recipients not understanding that “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Cameron advised recipients of these messages to delete them immediately and avoid clicking on any links contained therein.

Last November, the ACMA began implementing the powers granted to it by the government to compel local internet service providers to block the domains of internationally licensed gambling sites. The ACMA’s naughty list currently contains 25 separate domains, most of which are the sketchy Curacao-licensed variety, including