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Betting red flags to lookout for, BBB warns

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BATON ROUGE - With sports betting now legal in most Louisiana parishes, the Better Business Bureau is warning people about how to avoid online scams ahead of the Super Bowl.

Carmen Million with the BBB says before you invest your money it's important to do your homework first.

"Everybody wants to get on board, everybody's excited about it, but you have to take a moment and investigate before you invest," said Million.

With more digital platforms available, scams have become more widespread and appear legit when they are not. The BBB says before you bet, make sure the website or app is safe.

Online, a web address should include "https" - the "s" means the website is secure. Most secure web addresses have a lock near the URL bar. Million says to beware of pop-up requests and pay attention to who you are providing your financial or personal information to.

"You want to look for misspellings and you want to make sure the site is protected," said Million.

If a website or app is offering something that seems "too good to be true," then it probably is. In things like sports betting, there is no guaranteed outcome. Accounts promising an immediate or guaranteed return is a red flag.

"If they tell you you're guaranteed to win money, the too good to be true offers are always a warning sign and you really need to be cautious about those things," she said.

The BBB says if you are making a bet, use a secure form of payment, not a debit card, which can give someone direct access to your bank account. Million suggests using a PayPal account or another form of payment that will protect you in the event you don't receive your payout.

If you feel like you've been a victim of an internet crime, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and BBB.org/scamtracker. Understand that if you are a victim of a betting scam, the odds of getting your money back are slim.

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