How To Spot A Horse Racing Tipster Scam

I received an email recently from a new member to my betting advice service. She told me how she had fallen prey to one of the longest-running tipster scams around. Unfortunately this type of con is all too commonplace, and in this case made a victim of a lady with little experience of betting. What is concerning, is that for the scammers to continue using these methods means there must be a never-ending supply of unwary people forming a queue to be exploited.

I write this piece in the hope I can make at least a few more people aware of what to look out for.

The story starts with the typical piece of junk mail which regularly falls on our door mats. It contains amazing promises of big incomes to be had from following this guy’s betting advice. As ‘proof’ of this guy’s talents there is a page of outstanding results, of numerous horses winning at big prices.

Now granted, I myself guarantee a significant income to people joining my betting service. However, what I do offer any prospective member is the chance to try my service first hand, with a free trial. This tipster was looking for the first month’s membership fee up front, sent to an anonymous PO Box.

So, my first piece of advice would be “never send a tipster any money, unless you are satisfied of his credentials.” Ask for a trial of his service before you agree to part with any money. If he says ‘no’ then you have lost nothing.

More often than not, you will find no way of contacting the tipster to ask him this question — no telephone number, no email address, only the anonymous PO Box address. This desire to remain incommunicado should also speak volumes to you!

Going back to the story of our friend the tipster and his glossy piece of advertising copy — after sending off a sizeable cheque, the lady in question received a ‘hotline’ telephone number which she was advised to call every day for the tips. I know what you may be thinking, but in this case it wasn’t a premium rate number that costs £5 each day to call. This is a trick often used, and everyone should be very wary of telephone numbers pre-fixed ‘090’ especially if they have already paid a membership fee.

After following the tips for a number of days, the results were mediocre to say the least, and certainly nowhere near the high standard illustrated by the glossy marketing literature.

The next piece of advice is cliched, but remains true — “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!”

After about a week, this lady received a further letter, telling her that if she wanted to hear about a ‘sure-fire winner’ in the Melbourne Cup in Australia, then she should call another number. When she called she spoke to a gentleman who explained that in order to get details of the horse, she must agree to place some money on it, on behalf of the tipster. His excuse was that because he has been so successful, he has been banned from all the bookmakers, and finds it impossible to place bets personally.

The lady was asked to place £100 for this tipster, and whatever she could afford herself. The horse in question, if we were to believe the hype from this tipster, “absolutely couldn’t lose”.

She placed her money with her local bookmaker, and you’ve already guessed what happened. In fact, she lost £250 in total.

Two things to point out here — first of all, the tipster shoulders absolutely no risk in this transaction. If the horse loses, then it is only you that loses money. If it wins, then you are pressurized into sending the scammer his slice of the winnings. Secondly, let me assure you, there is no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ in any race. Even more so in a big ‘feature’ race such as the Melbourne Cup — its the biggest race in the Australian horse racing calendar, and each and every one of the runners will have been put into the race with a chance of winning.

This type of scam has even less credibility nowadays. With the advent of the betting exchanges, the disadvantage of having your accounts closed by various bookmakers is now totally irrelevant. Firms such as Betfair have no axe to grind if you are a winning punter, and they will never close your account.

Whenever you receive a set of ‘incredible’ results from a tipster, first ask if these results include ALL the selections given. In other words, is the tipster trying to hide any losers which would detract from his results? The lesson above also applies here: how easy is the tipster to contact, and how quickly and positively does he reply?

If the results are supposed to be complete, then we can analyse them a little further: make a note of the total number of bets. This is the total invested. Let’s say by way of an example that there are 50 bets — you would have invested 50 points.

Let’s say that when you add up all the claimed winners, the returns amount to 103 points. So, you would have invested 50 points in 50 bets, which returned 103 points for a profit of 53 points. Very impressive.

But now let’s get real! 53 points profit on an investment of 50 points equates to a return on investment of 206% This is calculated by dividing the 103 points returned, by the original 50 points invested.

Ask any professional punter, and they will tell you that a good return is 120% — very good is 130% — and anything over 140% is either unsustainable, or an outright fabrication. Personally, I am extremely happy when I achieve over 130% ROI for any given month, and more often than not I will only achieve around 120% – 125%

To summarize,

1. Don’t send a tipster any money until he has proved himself to you over a period of time, or he has been personally recommended by someone you trust.

2. Be wary of any tipster who hides behind an anonymous PO Box number, and is very difficult to contact. Does he answer your questions quickly and directly.

3. Be cautious of any service that involves calling a premium rate number for your information. You should be aware that you are likely to spend over £100 each month on telephone calls BEFORE you have even started to make any profit.

4. Never be fooled by anyone who claims they have a ‘sure-fire’ winner that cannot lose. Every horse, in every race has a chance of winning, and so no horse is ever 100% certain to win.

5. Never allow yourself to be seduced into placing on behalf of a tipster. His excuse that he cannot place bets personally is a total fallacy with the advent of betting exchanges, and only means he is hoping you will take all the risk in placing his bets.

6. Don’t be afraid to question a tipsters results — never take them at face value.

7. Is the tipsters claimed Return On Investment realistic — anything over 150% should be treated with suspicion, and is most likely to be an exaggeration.

8. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.