Phil Galfond is the latest high-profile player to be targeted by fraudsters in the ongoing identity theft scam that is happening right now in the United States. A frightening number of well-known players have had personal details stolen in the last fortnight and used to drain funds directly from their bank accounts.
The scam appears to have started two to three weeks ago and came to light on Twitter when several big names revealed that five-figure sums had been syphoned from their bank accounts. The perpetrator has collected personal information and used it to open accounts with DraftKings, BetMGM, and bank accounts in the victim’s name used as an alternative withdrawal method.
The high number of victims that we know play high stakes is likely to be no coincidence due to automatic credit checks carried out by Global Payments Gaming Solutions leading to higher than normal deposit limits.
Phil Galfond tweeted: “The day before I closed this account, the fraudsters successfully created a @BetMGM account in my name & deposited $2k. BetMGM contacted me & have already reimbursed me. I also received a password reset email from Stardust Casino (@FanDuel) due to failed login attempts (not me).”
Kathy Liebert and Chance Kornuth were also recent victims in this second wave of thefts.
Liebert said: “I just spoke with Global Payments and was told I had deposits to my account for winnings but it wasn’t my account. Apparently a bank account in my name was opened to collect winnings from BetMGM and was also added to my http://WSOP.com account which has now been removed. @BetMGM Apparently someone withdraw money from my actual account to BetMGM and Borgata while adding a different account to deposit to that was not mine and went to fraudster instead.”
Kornuth tweeted that two new BetMGM accounts had been opened in his name
Is Publicity Saving the Day?Todd Witteles was also hit for a $10K sum and he dived straight in to get to the bottom of what was happening. He has spent hours putting together all the stories with regular announcements and it seems to have done the trick with the affected gambling platforms now paying back customers. Witteles himself received a full refund once the story started to go viral.
DraftKings was quick to tweet that it would make whole any customer that was impacted.
DraftKings’ Paul Liberman said in a statement: “DraftKings is aware that some customers are experiencing irregular activity with their accounts. We currently believe that the login information of these customers was compromised on other sites and then used to access their DraftKings accounts, where they used the same login information.”
Fanduel sportsbook is also affected and put out a similar statement: “In light of recent reports of a hack impacting some other sports betting websites, we are reaching out to remind our customers about the importance of good cybersecurity hygiene.”
Interestingly, Witteles thinks that the DraftKings and FanDuel frauds are separate from what’s happening with BetMGM and Global Payments. He says the most likely explanation given what he knows so far is that a sophisticated fraud ring is responsible, possibly including a former employee of one of the affected companies.