Brits aiming to have flutter on the Derby this weekend are being warned about a scam racing tipster emails that last year tricked punters out of at least £5 million.
The Office of Fair Trading is warning racegoers about scam emails offering bogus tips and guaranteed insider information for a fee.
Emails – and sometimes glossy brochures targeted at punters – promise a ‘guaranteed £10,000 a week’ using ‘unrivalled access to insider information’ from a fake ‘racing pundit’ who claims to have access to inside information from trainers and owners and an amazing success rate that guarantees large profits.
In January the OFT obtained a High Court injunction against a Brighton-based trader behind a number of misleading racing tipster mailings. It was estimated that more than 3,000 consumers responded to the mailings, netting the man behind it at least £175,000.
Other scams include the chance to place bets through a special service that protects against losses – however, those that try to find their winnings discover their contact has disappeared.
John McCririck, Channel 4 Racing presenter, said: “Punters are being misled and losing money and confidence while those behind these scams get richer.
“The activities of bogus racing tipsters are bringing into disrepute the whole of horseracing and I welcome any efforts to raise awareness and crack down on this problem for the benefit of the sport.”
Mike Haley, OFT head of consumer protection, added: “These scammers are expert in one thing: parting people from their cash with empty promises of inside information, guaranteed huge profits and bogus money back offers.
“It’s a gamble not worth taking.”
At the Derby Festival meeting at Epsom Downs racecourse this weekend a team from the OFT will be handing out mock scam mailing mimicking the adverts used by bogus tipsters.
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