Gone Phishing – beware of bingo scam emails
Modern regulation and encryption techniques are now making it virtually impossible for the wrong people to get their hands on your banking details, when you play on a bingo website and supply your details through the usual channels. However, criminals are coming up with ever-craftier ways of ripping you off, and – as is often the case with the best criminal scams – the more audacious ideas are the ones that can be the most brutally effective.
They Have Nothing to Lose By Asking…
You may have heard of phishing: It’s a common online scam, and you’ll spot a phishing email quite easily if you’re prepared. When you receive an email from what appears to be a “reputable bingo site” asking for your personal details, it’s time to stop immediately. Do not respond to the email at all – instead contact the bingo site that the email claims to be from and ring them or use their chat facility to notify them about the email, as if they’re a reputable site they won’t have sent it.
Only Communicate via their Site
This is because legal and above board sites don’t ask for personal details unless they’re fully encrypted, which means they’ll only expect you to do it via their site once you’ve logged in.
To the uninitiated, the phishing email can seem very convincing: They’ll appeal to your better nature with a wonderfully slimy approach along the following lines:
“Hi! We’ve loved having you as a player on our site and hope that you’ve enjoyed your experience with us so far: It’s players like you that really bring our site alive with your spirited gameplay and witty, friendly chat. We therefore want to do everything we can to make sure that the service we provide you with is the very best that it can be.
To help us help you make the best of your membership, we first of all need to ensure your details are fully up to date so that we can tailor our service to make sure your individual needs as a player are met as fully as possible. By doing this you’ll help us build an accurate database of player profiles so that we can continue to bring you games and offers that you love. And if you take just a few seconds to update the details below you’ll be given free entry into a record £30,000 prize draw, so don’t delay.
Thanks for making Bozo Bingo the fastest-growing bingo site in the UK, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Head of Customer Care”
Don’t let them Take Advantage of your Politeness
Many players will respond immediately out of politeness if nothing else – and the weasels that run these scams are only too aware of it.
You may, however, think that an email is legitimate because it contains links to your bingo site and can therefore be trusted, but don’t bank on it: They’ll even go to the trouble of creating fake pages that look exactly like your bingo site but are in fact just cleverly-reproduced replicas – and if you visit these and back out without giving any personal information out, don’t think that’s the end of it, either: Some of these pages can contain malware designed to wreck your computer, requiring a complete reinstallation of your operating system and loss of any documents and other data that you haven’t backed up.
Not All Emails are Scams…
That not to say, however, that your actual bingo site won’t email you. If you’ve left the offers box ticked when you joined up there’s every possibility that they’ll bombard you with offers every week to get you to deposit and play more – but a legitimate email won’t broach the subject of “updating your personal details”, so read the email by all means, then report it if it looks dodgy – before deleting it.
Stay Calm and Think before you Act
As always, it’s all about common sense – though when the prospect of winning money is involved even the best of us tend to get a little overexcited, so don’t do anything hasty and ask yourself this: If your bingo site needs to update your details why the hell didn’t they ask you the right questions when you joined up?
The answer, of course, is that they did, and you’re not being approached by someone from your bingo site in an office in Gibraltar, but a mean-spirited sleazebag in a shiny suit who doesn’t care whether you’re retired, skint, ill or stressed – he only wants your cash, and – like all the best cheats in this world from Robert Maxwell to Bernie Madoff – they can only charm you into handing over your sensitive information if you let them…