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Wagering your March Madness bets with a scammer

Sports betting is big business during the NCAA tournament but betters could be losing more than a busted bracket if they place a bet with a scammer.

SAN DIEGO — Sports betting is a lucrative industry, especially during March Madness.

The American Gaming Association found that the sports betting market revenue hit a record high of $7.5 billion last year.

Lucky gamblers aren't the only ones winning; so are scammers.

“It's a pretty aggressive market. I think fraudsters work harder at defrauding than the actual real jobs,” said David Pirtle, of Chargebacks911, VP of Enterprise Engagement.

The company specializes in transaction disputes and warns of phishing, fake ticket and gambling websites and apps that offer risk free deals, introductory bonuses and discounts.

“They'll actually create fake websites that look very legitimate, apps are a little bit easier to create and maintain with a smaller team,” said Pirtle.

It's a long fraudulent journey. If you've lost and unknowingly placed your bet with a scammer, they'll wait to see if you place another bet, the same goes for if you win.

“When you win, that's even more of an opportunity for them to take advantage of you to try to collect that additional information to validate your bank account, things like that. And then get more money from you,” said Pirtle.

CBS 8 spoke with the Pacific Southwest Better Business Bureau on how to spot these scams, so you don't lose big.

“Read all of the fine print,” said Jasmine Hall, BBB Pacific Southwest Operations Engagement Lead.

Research the sports book before signing up, and check reviews and the BBB site for complaints.

“If we do have complaints, you just want to make sure you read through those complaints to make sure that the business is responding in an adequate manner,” said Hall.

Also, the sports book's licensing and regulation information should be clearly stated on its website. It should also offer secure banking options and the BBB encourages betters to avoid clicking on pop-up ads.

“I would be wary of anything that pops up on the side of your browser, your website, just go ahead and close it out,” said Hall.

When in doubt, place your bets on being cautious so you don't get conned out of losing more than a busted a bracket. 

To check gambling licenses in the state of California check Attorney General Rob Bonta's website

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