Online gambling account takeover fraud on the rise

Simona Boshkova | Published 19 Nov 2020, 9:52 a.m.

We’ve covered plenty of news regarding the gambling situation in different European countries, as well as in the United States. The popularity of online gambling has resulted in an expansion of the casino industry in the US, where more and more states are turning to legalise some form of gambling. The situation in the UK is similar, where the UK Gambling Commission is working hard to protect the customers so it opened a consultation on problem gambling. Still, more than half of online gambling companies have experienced a rise in account takeover fraud, according to research by Ravelin.

Account takeover in the top three frauds in online gambling

Ravelin, the specialist in fraud detection and payment acceptance, recently conducted a survey in online gambling and found a notable increase in account takeover fraud over the past year. Namely, the results showed that 52% of the gambling operators have seen a rise in what is called “account takeover”. This means when a hacker manages to gain access to a customer’s account and steals funds. 

In addition, Ravelin’s Online Merchant Perspectives, Fraud & Payments Survey found that gambling companies are in the second place of account attacks, with taxi companies being the number one target. The findings also showed that 72% of the companies believe that account takeover is in the top three fraud threats, along with online payment and friendly frauds. 29% of the operators think that account takeover fraud is their top threat.

Mairtin O’Riada, Ravelin chief information officer and co-founder, said that account takeover is a serious threat for consumers, merchants and banks. Therefore, he reminded merchants that they need to make smarter decisions using their data and shut down or temporarily freeze compromised accounts.

The account takeover fraud is happening mostly because of customers choosing some lousy passwords. For that reason, security experts strongly recommend customers to use complex passwords including a combination of upper and lower case, numeric characters, and special characters. Longer passwords are also safer than shorter combinations, and they should be changed frequently.

Only 5% of Swedes know how to check if an operator is legal

In the meantime, the Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has conducted another survey regarding the gambling situation in the state. The survey covered 1,737 Swedes, 1,139 of which were gamblers. The results showed that only 5% of Swedes know how to check if a gambling company has a licence to operate in Sweden. Just 2% of the respondents said that they would look at an operator’s website to determine if it was licenced, 1% said that they use Google, and 1% said they check Spellinspektionen’s website.

The survey also showed a growth in gambling in Sweden. Lotteries were the most popular form of gambling, after which are racing and sports betting. In addition, 18% played bingo, 11% casino games, and 9% poker. In terms of online gambling, Svenska Spel remains Sweden’s most popular option, with 55% of customers who have played on the site this year.

Moreover, 43% of the respondents said that they weren’t aware of the self-exclusion tool Spelpaus. For that reason, Spellinspektionen launched a new awareness campaign to remind the customers that there is a system in place to prohibit access to gambling products. The new campaign will run through mid-January and will feature 13 different banner ads across different websites.