BCLC the latest to issue warnings about online scams

March 5, 2024 1:37 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
March 5, 2024 1:37 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan

First it was Great Entertainment in the Maritimes and Lotteries and Gaming Saskatchewan back in November. Then it was Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries in January and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis in January.

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Now the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has issued a public warning about a series of online phishing scams that imitate B.C. casinos, tricking individuals into giving up their personal financial information on bogus websites.

The scams are conducted via posts and advertisements on various social-media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s confusing for people because the crooks post deceptive ads and information, exploiting the names, logos, and exterior images of B.C. casinos. They offer players exclusive promotions and bonuses if they register, either with their website or via a mobile application.

BCLC is warning that none of these sites is associated with the lottery or B.C. casinos.

In the province, Playnow.com is the only platform on which people can bet legally on sports or gamble online. PlayNow BC Sportsbook, BCLC Lotto!, and PlayNow Poker BC are BCLC’s official apps. Also, all BCLC social-media accounts are verified with a checkmark.

BCLC said in a statement that they’re working to take down the posts and advertisements. In the meantime, they’re warning people in the province to be cautious and alert. BCLC-verified sites and apps will never ask for an individual’s social insurance number or banking/credit card details to claim a prize at a B.C. casino. Another red flag: the suggestion that taxes or fees need to be paid on a prize. No taxes or fees are collected on prizes won in Canada.

If individuals are unsure about a website, post, or advertisement, they can contact BCLC directly at 1-866-815-0222 or go on a live chat at corporate.bclc.com or PlayNow.com. They can also report suspected fraudulent activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.