In my recent article on 7 fun ways to earn money online, I mentioned playing at online casinos to earn some extra dough.
I know. Gasp. Horror.
“How could a personal finance blogger ever advocate taking part in such risky business – in an area rife with bingo scams?”
This is a true quote found in an email from a visitor to the blog.
Sigh, not a great email to receive on a Monday morning. Therefore, I’ve written this article in an attempt to defend myself show you how to avoid online casino scams.
Obviously, I can’t talk about every type of scam out there. So I’ve focused on one that is particularly popular: Online Bingo!
Let’s take a look!
Online Bingo – Popularity and Risks
Playing Bingo online has been gaining extreme popularity recently amongst more and more avid gamers. To them (and in moderation), it provides fun, relaxation and monetary benefits all at the same time.
Unfortunately, many players are now trying to keep themselves away from online bingo sites due to the risks involved in it while playing.
These days, once enthusiastic gamers are now sceptical about the authenticity and reliability of the sites that they used to frequent.
I understand: the game involves your own hard earned money. If you are not cautious enough, you COULD run the risk of losing your money.
So how does one be cautious when playing Online Bingo?
How to Choose your Site Carefully
First and foremost, have a detailed look of the site. Does it feel like it was put together professionally? Or was it slapped together overnight? Sometimes, little things like missing images or bad English can raise red flags in your mind about the legitimacy of the site.
In addition, look elsewhere for positive customer reviews.
Firstly, read the reviews on blogs or gaming forums. Make sure the comments look like they’re from real people (so, they’re not all saying the same thing. Rather they’re talking about different aspects of the site.)
Secondly, make sure that the comments are “aged”. That means: the comments have been around for some time. This makes it less likely that the comments were thrown up by the same person in a hurry to make the site seem legit.
Make sure they have Proper Contact Details
A good Bingo site will always have a good and genuine contact system. See their navigation menu? Usually a “Contact Us” button will link you to their contact page. Otherwise, some bingo sites keep the information at the bottom of the page.
When on the contact page itself, look at the contact information. It should at least have a phone number and a valid email address to allow the customers to contact them in case of any issue.
Also, a bonus would be if they state that they offer 24/7 support. The customer care team should be available round the clock so that you can contact them anytime if needed.
Another tip: make sure they’re not based in the United States. Online bingo sites are not allowed to operate out of America or market to American residents. So any site that claims to operate in America is likely a scam.
Look For the Payment Platform and Support
One factor that could cause you stress is the thought of having your money going into the wrong hands. To avoid this, check the payment system of the site (one of the 9 signs of a good bingo site.) The platform should be robust, sound, smooth and well backed up by an authorized payment partner.
Paypal, Stripe etc. are all great payment processing systems.
Also look in the address bar of the site: do you see a green lock symbol, or the term “https”? These indicate that your connection is secure and that hackers can’t get to your payment information. Also a HUGE plus!
Do they provide help guides and tutorials?
Another sign a good bingo site is that it offers a tutorial/support to help beginners who are new to this world of gambling. This not only shows that operators care about players being able to make money and enjoy the site fully.
More importantly, it shows that the site is willing to operate for the long haul. Tutorials and detailed help guides are not easy to make, so this little bit of extra effort can indicate that the operator is legit.
Be wary of the confidential information that is requested from you
A legit bingo site will never ask you for
- your confidential bank details,
- passwords or
- debit/credit card pins
under any circumstances. This is barring the usual requirements for you to enter payment details such as your credit card number CVV etc.
Beware of vague or Hostile Payment Terms
Most of the scam sites have an unfavorable and hostile terms and conditions written at the time of registration or on the payment page.
Remember ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT! This is a prime place for companies to hide onerous payment terms since so many people skip over it. Yes, it might take you 15 minutes to read over everything *groan*. But hey, it’s worth it when we’re talking about your hard earned money here.
An example of hostile payment terms might be that they require you to jump through a bunch of hoops before you can withdraw your winnings. They might require that you need at least $1,000 in winnings (or some other ridiculously high threshold) before you see your cash.
Do they let you win over and over again?
Okay, this is a bit of a catch-22. I mean, why quit when you’re winning all the time?
Some scam sites allow you to win at the start. Their hope is to lure you in and get you to stake more and more. Then when you’re in deep, they’ll rip you for all you’re worth.
This is nothing but a trap laid by these scam sites to steal your money. If you’re on a winning streak just after joining, be aware of these mal-practices and never fall for it.
Too lazy? Use comparison sites
Most of the expert bingo enthusiasts use various comparison tools and sites to eliminate the scammers (or just poorly run sites) and play their favourite game while still staying safe. A site like www.bingosites.co.uk will provide ratings, reviews, and even how much a site gives you in signup bonuses.
Of course, I’d still advise you to exercise your own discretion and judgement when choosing between sites. Use comparison tools as shortlists to pick from, but don’t ever follow their recommendations blindly!
Which One to Pick?
By now, you probably have a clear idea about how to select and pick your next online bingo site. Again, let me state for the record that I AM NOT ADVOCATING GAMBLING (in extremes.) A bit of online gaming here and there can help to relieve stress and staking small amounts of money (that you’re willing to lose) can add that little zing to get your blood pumping.
At all times, be responsible with how you treat your money. Even the money that you’ve set aside to play with (i.e. lose.)
Have you ever had experience playing with online bingo sites? Let me know in the comments below!