Nine times out of ten, mindlessly scrolling through social media is nothing more than a frivolous exercise in boredom management. But, that’s no excuse to leave your mind on autopilot. Otherwise, the latest online casino app scam using the now-retired Casino Woodbine’s brand and likeness may have had you fooled.
The fraudulent banners, which PlayCanada found circulating on Instagram, are part of an elaborate phishing scheme designed to obtain users’ personal and banking information. Also seen on Meta (formerly Facebook), the ads feature co-opted imagery and a ‘sponsored’ label from the social media platforms.
In June of last year, Casino Woodbine ceased operations and evolved into the new Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto. Great Canadian Entertainment, the operator of the property, confirmed the ruse in the scam alerts page of its website.
Photo: how to spot signs of fraud in Casino Woodbine scam ads
When confronted with false online casino app advertising, there are usually a few telltale signs to pick out. Here’s what to look for, using the Casino Woodbine scam (above) as an example.
Starting with the image, there is no iGaming Ontario logo anywhere in the ad. That alone is an immediate red flag, as the fraudsters didn’t bother to replicate the most basic advertising requirement.
The second dead giveaway is that Casino Woodbine or “Woodbine Casino” as it’s referred to in the ad, is no longer in operation. As mentioned earlier, it is now a different facility – Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto.
Next, the profile photo associated with the Instagram account clearly is not part of the Woodbine Entertainment brand. If it looks suspicious, which it is, go to the official Woodbine Entertainment Instagram account for confirmation.
Finally, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario prohibits operators from including bonuses and promotions in their advertisements. This ad falsely promotes a $2,000 CAD welcome bonus as well as 100 free spins.
Video: How to spot signs of fraud in Casino Woodbine scam ads
Moving over to the video (above), users can see what happens engaging with the green icon along the bottom of the screen reading “play game.” Here, players will see the URL ‘woodbinegame.com,’ which is not the company’s official website link. The correct link is simply woodbine.com.
Clicking the sham link leads to another fraudulent page, this time being an imitation of the Apple App or Google Play store. If the app was legitimate, odds are your device would open the app store separately, outside of Instagram or Meta. The clear indication of fraud here is the app provider’s name, Wood Casino Inc. A quick Google search for the company will yield zero results.
Altogether, these general signs can serve as a test for assessing all forms of online casino app advertising.
Casino Woodbine scam second of 2024, third in past three months
With the Casino Woodbine scam now in the books, there have been at least three separate scams targeting Great Canadian locations in the past three months.
Back in January, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries thwarted online fraud attempts on Winnipeg’s Club Regent Casino. Similar to the Woodbine case, scammers used stolen imagery to lure Meta users into unwittingly sharing sensitive information. For now, MBLL’s PlayNow is the only safe and legal online wagering option available in The Keystone Province.
Before that, in mid-November, ads for Casino Nova Scotia and Casino New Brunswick online gambling apps made the rounds on Instagram and Meta. Like Casino Woodbine’s fraud attempt, the East Coast con also attached ‘sponsored’ labels to the posts.
Neither Casino Nova Scotia nor Casino New Brunswick offers an online gambling site. All safe and legal online wagering in the Atlantic provinces must take place through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation website.
Users are always encouraged to report such fraud attempts to their local provincial gambling authority.