Regulator Warns of a Gambling Scam in the Netherlands

  • Netherlands' gaming regulator issues warning about a gambling scam
  • Scam claims people owe money on non-existent debts
  • Collection agencies threaten goods will be seized if payment isn't received
Unregistered collection agencies are demanding money from consumers as part of a gambling scam.
Unregistered collection agencies are demanding money from consumers as part of a gambling scam, and threatening to seize goods if they don’t pay up.

A business regulation agency based in The Hague has released information regarding a scam that claims fake gambling debts from consumers.

Pressurizing People to Pay

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has named Lootsma and Partners, Bailiff Smits and Co and Inter Payment Service as the collection companies involved in the scam, according to a report from the Kansspelautoriteit, the country’s gaming regulator.

The ACM’s statement regarding the scam reads in part:

They call people or email them with the information that there are overdue payments and urge them to pay. Sometimes the collection agencies say that there is a debt in a lottery or other game of chance.

The statement adds that there have been reports that the agencies are putting pressure on contacted consumers to pay the alleged bills. In order to get people to pay the charges, the collection agencies threaten to seize goods or bank accounts.

However, as the gaming regulator points out, the agencies don’t have the power to do this. “Only an official bailiff may attach an attachment after permission from the judge,” the statement reads.

The Kansspelautoriteit’s advice, if people do receive calls from these agencies or any others under varying names, is simply not to pay.

“These three collection agencies are not registered with the Chamber of Commerce, [which] is mandatory for companies operating in the Netherlands,” stated the Kansspelautoriteit. “It is also emphasized that Bailiff Smits & Co is not an official bailiff. In addition, the information on the websites of these collection agencies is incorrect.”

Kidnapping Scam Fooled Family

If there’s a way to make money through deceit, it seems people are willing to give it a try.

Take a story from February, when a Singaporean property agent scammed money from his clients to fund his gambling addiction. When things got too hot under the collar for him he fled to Malaysia, where he faked his own kidnapping in exchange for a ransom to free up his debts.

With claims that his alleged kidnappers would chop off his fingers if the ransom wasn’t paid on time, he managed to steal S$88,200 (£50,000; $64,700) from his family. He was eventually sentenced to 23 months in jail after pleading guilty to nine charges of criminal cheating, breaches of trust, and forgery for the purpose of cheating.

In another case, a 62-year-old man from Maine, US, was charged after he was found to have been running a multi-million dollar gambling scam over a 14-year period. The time in question was from 2003 until April 2017.

These are just a few instances where others have used scams in order to swindle money out of unsuspecting people to make a quick buck and, unfortunately, it seems to work.

In the case involving the Singaporean man, he was attempting to get money to pay his debts rather than seeking the help he needed to tackle his gambling problem. If successful with his scam, it raises the question would he then have continued to gamble?