This is probably one of the most typical betting scams out there. In fact, there’s a a big chance you’ve been approached by such hustlers already, without figuring out what was going on. This is why many people still fall for it these days.
How it’s performed
This scam can be performed at different levels. It can be addressed to easy targets, in order to collect small ammounts of money, or it can very well thought, making it look like the part. I’ll deconstruct to better explain how it works:
1. Choosing a fixture and a place
Hustlers usually pick pubs or local bookies. Anywhere they know people are going to watch a certain match. The hustler needs to find out what fixture will be broadcasted on a certain date.
2. Placing some bets. He will then go to a local bookie – a few days or hours – before the selected fixture takes places. After deciding on a type of bet, he will look cover all possible results. Let’s say he picked Under/Over 2,5 goals. He will place a couple of bets like:
Bet 1: £925 @ 2.0 – Under 2,5 goals
Bet 2: £1,000 @ 1.85 – Over 2,5 goals
He invested £1,925. One of the two tickets will bring him back £1,850, leaving him with a loss of £75 either way.
3. Attending the match. With the two tickets placed in different pockets, the hustler will now head towards the chosen location. Once he arrives, he will start looking for a target – either a person or a group. Depending on his appearance, story and the size of the winning ticket, he will carefully select a convenient target.
4. The Blag. Most of the times, hustlers will work in groups. They might bring a complice – to make sure they have someone who will listen and maybe inspire others. The complice might act as the hustler’s mate, or they might make it look as if they first met. Either way, the hustler will want to make sure that he can be heard by the target. He will be talking as if he has inside info about a fixed match – he might even intentionally whisper loud enough for the target to hear.
5. The Bait. Late in the game, he will start talking about the bet he made, saying things like: I told you these guys never fail, or This is my 16th consecutive winner mate, a few more like these and I’m finishing my house!
After the match finishes, or if the bet is already won a few minutes before, the hustler will show the ticket to his partner (again, making sure the target will also see this.) The complice will then ask for future tips. He will get an answer like: We can talk about it when I get back from the bathroom – leaving the winning ticket in the hands of the complice.
6. The approach. If the target doesen’t approach the complice during the intentional break – although most of the times it does happen – the hustler needs to start talking money when he gets back to his seat. He will talk about another fixed game he knows about for tomorrow.
He will then ask for an amount depending of the number of targets and their predicted pocket-size. The complice will reply: I don’t have 500 pounds mate! I won’t have it till next week. The hustler will then encourage him to collect from friends in exchange of sharing the tip with them. If the target doesen’t bite the bait, it’s now up to the complice to make contact.
7. Cashing in. The complice will take out all the money he’s got (apparently,) demanding the rest from the targets. If the money is exchanged, the hustler will give out a prepared tip (which is very likely to be successful,) and will establish a further meeting, after tomorrow’s game. If the tip proves to be a winner, they will meet again to purchase the next tip. However, if the tip fails, the hustler will be a no show.
Why is it so efficient?
Scam artists usually do their homework. They might send someone to spot potential targets days before the actual scam will take place. I’ve only explained a way of doing it, but there are hundreds of ways to pull it off.
Punters are their favorite targets, mainly because they are easy to spot and usually, very interested in such opportunities. With only a bit of research done, hustlers will have an easy job throwing the bait in front of those who will most likely go for it.
How to avoid being scammed
- never trust a phone number/facebook account – they can disappear in seconds;
- a winning ticket doesen’t always tell the full story – same goes with 10 tickets;
- people who encourage or put money down can also be part of the scam;
- ignore anyone who mentions fixed matches;
- and like your mummy said: don’t give away money to strangers!