TransUnion Report Finds US Gamblers 2-3 Times More Vulnerable to Fraud Than Non-Bettors

A new TransUnion report found that US gamblers are almost twice as likely as non-bettors to fall victim to financial fraud. The risk is three times higher for high-value players, who deposit $500 or more monthly.

The report also found bettors of all types are more willing to trade personal information for potential gain. As a result of this heightened risk, operators must implement robust fraud prevention strategies, the report said.

Declan Raines, TransUnion’s head of US gaming, spoke to Bonus about the bureau’s latest US Gaming Report.

The study, he said, found that overall, US bettors are more likely to experience identity fraud than non-bettors (13% vs. 7%).

Raines told Bonus:

We definitely found that this population is more susceptible to falling victim to fraud than the rest of the US population.

US Gamblers 2-3 Times More Likely to Experience Fraud

Specifically, 17% of bettors admitted being targeted and falling victim to fraud over the previous three months, while only 7% of non-bettors reported the same. The study surveyed 3,000 US adults and found that high-value bettors showed even greater vulnerability, with 22% taken in by a scam.

US gamblers’ willingness to trade personal data for financial incentives may contribute to that susceptibility.

TransUnion found bettors are concerned about sharing data online (77%).

However, they also had a high likelihood of sharing personal details in the past and being open to incentives to swap personal data for better promotions, higher limits, and a more seamless user experience.

The survey also showed comparatively higher willingness for high-value online bettors with bigger wallets. When asked what requests for personal information on an online app would give pause, only 43% had a problem handing over their social security number.

For mobile bettors on a budget, hesitation rose to 56%.

Notably, the study reproduced findings from previous TransUnion research that showed bettors display heightened financial instability compared to non-bettors. At the same time, US gamblers also express significantly more optimism for their household finances over the coming year.

While academic studies indicate a link between optimism and vulnerability to fraud, this study focused on whether fraud was evident in gambling, not why, said Raines.

Raines told Bonus:

People experience fraud. It’s an unfortunate facet of the online world we live in. And within the sports betting segment, in particular, there’s a lot of free money around. There’s a lot of money, there’s a lot of growth, and that’s where it’s going to attract fraudsters. And so dedicating energy and resources into investigating why this is happening, why betters are more susceptible, is less efficient than just addressing the source.

TransUnion to Dive Deeper in Future Reports

With fraud becoming commonplace, what can operators do to protect US gamblers from fraud (and, seemingly, themselves)?

This is where companies like TransUnion say they can help identify and catch fraudsters.

Take identity theft. TransUnion uses data to weed out synthetic identities while curbing bonus abuses, account takeovers, chip dumping, and other fraud unique to the industry.

In the US, the fraud-busting tool operators use most often is document verification.

“That’s an area we support, as well,” Raines said in a Bonus interview.

Being able to verify a customer within an app in a secure manner is key, he added. Emailing photos or your ID is never a good option.

Again, said Raines, this is another place TransUnion can help operators. Due to its wealth of data, the bureau can cross-verify customers’ personal identifying information (PII), making verification necessary less often.

In the future, said Raines, TransUnion intends the quarterly US Gaming Report to go deeper in its examination of fraud.

He said the plan is to also break things down by product, possibly as soon as the end-of-year edition. However, that will depend on getting enough data to back any insights.

Raines told Bonus:

We want to start looking at breakdowns of products. Like if you buy lottery tickets but you don’t bet on sports, what does your consumer financial picture look like?

Because I’ve been in gambling for a while, I’ve always heard that lottery targets low-income individuals. But is that actually true? Those are the types of insights that are going to be interesting.

For US gamblers looking to lower their risk, the Federal Trade Commission’s How to Avoid a Scam is a good place to start.

Tips to avoid a scam:

  • Block unwanted calls and text messages
  • Don’t give away personal information over text, email, phone, or social media/online
  • Avoid clicking links in emails or text messages. Instead, contact the sender through their website or by phone. Make sure to look up the number. Never use the contact provided
  • Resist pressure to act immediately. Pressure to pay or hand over personal information is a sure sign of a scam
  • Requests for payments using crypto, wire transfer, Western Union, or non-typical service are another indication of fraud
  • Stop, and talk to someone else you trust. Often talking things out makes the scam more obvious.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
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