Betting software deals the gambler a losing hand

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  • WA consumers advised to ignore offers to buy expensive predictive software
  • Thousands of dollars invested in ‘get rich quick’ programs for no gain

West Australians are being duped into paying thousands of dollars for sports betting and share trading software which promises to make them rich but just leaves them out of pocket.

So far this year, 15 people from across the State have reported spending a total of more than $200,000 on these types of software programs that Commerce Minister Michael Mischin warns have turned out to be virtually worthless.

“Our advice to consumers is not to be tempted by get rich quick claims being made by dubious promoters of these sports arbitrage, betting and share trading schemes,” Mr Mischin said.

“The software supposedly predicts the likely outcome of horse races, sporting events or movements in the share market.  Promoters target consumers by cold calling, using high pressure and urgent sales tactics or via unsolicited emails or mail.

“The schemes are sometimes marketed as a highly profitable ‘work from home’ activity.  The marketing is often supported by professionally-produced brochures, videos, testimonials and graphs showing high returns for the investor which can be false and misleading.

“After being subjected to hard-sell tactics, consumers have paid between $5,000 and $20,000 for these software packages which they soon discover don’t live up to the hype and then have difficulty getting a refund.

“Purchasers also face ongoing charges to maintain a wagering account or link the software to stock market data providers.

“The schemes are marketed as being risk-free investments, but they are just a form of gambling with an extremely high probability of losing.

“In fact, we have not seen a single one so far that has actually been proven to work.  In many cases, they are merely sophisticated scams designed to defraud punters who are often unable to withdraw any supposed winnings from their account.

“Consumer Protection WA is working with other consumer agencies and law enforcement authorities in tackling this issue nationally.

“If approached by the promoters of these schemes, our advice to WA consumers is to ignore the offer because it is not a safe bet and may end up costing you much more money than you are ever likely to gain.”

Fact File

  • Consumers wishing to invest money are urged to use a financial advisor licensed by ASIC.  For more information, visit http://www.asic.gov.au  
  • Consumers can lodge complaints about these schemes with Consumer Protection by email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54

Minister’s office - 6552 5600

Consumer Protection
Media release
10 Jun 2015

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