Help! Gambling Site Threatening To Ruin My Credit

streetlamp: About 3 or 4 months ago, my room mate convinced me to sign up for bodog.com for some online poker and other gambling activities
streetlamp: They took my banking info and everything went fine
streetlamp: I deposited $20
streetlamp: About a month later they freeze my account and said that I need to verify my account to log back in, which requires you sending your ID, voided check and a form
streetlamp: I didn’t feel comfortable with any of this so said screw it
streetlamp: Now they wont leave me alone still and are threatening me with derogatory credit
streetlamp: I’m a poor college student and never intended for any of this to start
streetlamp: So I have no idea what to do about it
benpopken: How often are they contacting you and by what means?

streetlamp: This has been about the 3rd or 4th email
streetlamp: The first one which I responded to they never responded back
streetlamp: But this is the first time they have included a threat of bad credit
streetlamp: Now on my bank statement it says that $20 was sent because I figured maybe my bank was aware it was a gambling site and froze the payment
benpopken: Tell ‘em to piss off
streetlamp: That was my latest email to them
streetlamp: But can they do anything about my credit?
benpopken: Even if they ding your credit slightly, it’s probably not going to affect your life. You can easily dispute it, and get it removed
streetlamp: Very well then, I just have a very good credit for a 18 year old and that has been the only part that has worried me
benpopken: Do you have a credit card?
streetlamp: 2
streetlamp: and a debit card
benpopken: Do you pay them off in full every month?
streetlamp: Indeed I do
benpopken: Do you have, or are planning to get, a mortgage or any other kind of loan?
streetlamp: I highly doubt that at least while im in college
benpopken: Then you can set up a filter to direct their email to your trash and forget about it
benpopken: Check your credit report in a few months and if they did do anything, dispute it saying they had no basis and it will probably get removed
streetlamp: Okay, sounds good
streetlamp: I never imagined I would ever need to contact you guys but you were the first to pop into my head when I saw this latest email
benpopken: We like to help!

Comments

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  1. timmus says:

    I don’t understand… does he owe the gambling site money?
    * No, he has no debt — I give 10 to 1 odds they’re trying to phish info from him. If not, they’re acting unethically. Plus he has rights under the FDCPA and FCRA.
    * Yes, he has a debt — Pay it or work out a plan. I seriously doubt they have any ability to report to credit bureaus until the debt gets sold to a collection agency.

    Gambling sites can operate with little over no oversight, and from almost any country in the world, so I would not put it past any random site to act unethically. This includes making threats that they can’t back up.

  2. timmus says:

    Also according to this they will ask for ID when you attempt to cash out, presumably for large amounts.

    More information would be helpful… my conclusion is that we’re not being told the complete story.

  3. RulesLawyer says:

    Sounds fishy to me. Bodog’s one of a handful of *very* reputable gambling sites. I don’t know how he could be on the hook with them unless he reversed some legitimate charges.

  4. 44 in a Row says:

    No, he has no debt — I give 10 to 1 odds they’re trying to phish info from him. If not, they’re acting unethically. Plus he has rights under the FDCPA and FCRA.

    I do think that Bodog is more than a “random site”; they’re definitely a pretty well-established sportsbook. And despite the fact that there’s no government oversight, word any sort of shenanigans (like dings on your credit report, etc.) would spread pretty quickly around the internet. There are dozens of internet gambling sites, and a successful one can’t afford to play games with its reputation. This is the same reason that online poker rooms really, really can’t afford to cheat, because any money they make from it in the short term would quickly be cancelled out by the money they would lose if word got out.

    That being said, this certainly sounds pretty strange, not to mention shady. I might try calling them on the phone and attempting to speak with someone; if nothing works, then timmus is right, I can’t imagine what sort of grounds they would have for putting a legitimate mark on your credit report.

  5. puka_pai says:

    He’s 18. Don’t you have to be 21 to gamble? Sending them his ID would show he was underage, so maybe that’s the problem.

  6. Scazza says:

    Yes, I also agree with above, BD are pretty big and its doubtful they would do something like this randomly. I’m not calling anyone a liar here, but the story might go deeper imo. Even if it is for 20 bucks, Ben is right and they really can’t do jack all with your credit that can’t be fixed. Plus your young, you can fix off any ding in no time.

    Also kudos for Ben, very straight forward and great way to relieve his anxiety…

  7. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    streetlamp: I’m a poor college student and never intended for any of this to start

    Umm.. that’s where my sympathy for this guy ended. If you’re really a poor college student, why even sign up for this thing? Sure it’s only $20, but it’s pretty easy to blow your money on gambling, whether it’s online or real life.

    But I have to agree with the others here; There’s got to be more to the story than he’s saying.

  8. MattyMatt says:

    Whoa hold on. Ben advises doing nothing, and if they hurt his credit, “dispute it saying they had no basis and it will probably get removed.”

    That’s a gigantic “probably.” The credit bureaus are notoriously unsympathetic, especially if the creditor maintains their claim of bad debt even after you contest. The bureau can always say, “your dispute is declined,” as happened to me a few years ago.

    The risk of a credit-ding, even a small one, is a big deal, especially for a college student: at some point in the next 7 years he will probably apply for a car loan or credit card or apartment.

    I’m not an expert, but to be safe, I would advise closing his current bank account and opening a new one. IMO, he should also call the four credit bureaus and request that they put a fraud alert on his account. That’s what my husband did when his identity was stolen, and it put an immediate stop to fraud.

  9. zl9600 says:

    I agree with MattyMatt.

    I decided to fight a screw-up by Advanta (since Fleet, since BofA) exactly 7 and one half years ago. They dinged my credit. We fought, I got a ‘notation’ added to my credit reports, the bank even admitted the mess up.

    I was told that was all I could do as two out of three CB’s refused to remove it entirely. (thanks, Experian, for being the good guys). It went off my credit report this fall, 7 years later. And my score went up immediately.

    I would NOT mess with playing hardball for $20. It could cost you hundreds if not thousands in higher interest rates down the road.

    (My dispute was for all of $38).

  10. factotum says:

    What the hell does a casino/sportsbook have to do with credit reports? Bodog didn’t provide him with credit and there is no debt as the $20 was paid to them.

    Send them a letter certified mail with return receipt indicating that you will sue if they continue to harass. I second the suggestion to close your bank account and reopen a new one and report your debit card as lost or compromised.

  11. Hoss says:

    What am I missing? Effective early October it became illegal for any US financial institute to transfer funds to a gambling site other than for paramutuel gambling (horse, dog, mule races, etc). That’s five months ago. Is this guy in Canada??

  12. qazwart says:

    American law on Internet gambling is extremely strict: You cannot collect on a debt that was caused directly by gambling on a international Internet gambling site. This means that credit card companies could not ask you to pay any credit card charges incurred by one of these firms, and this is why International Internet gambling sites cannot use credit cards.

    Because you cannot collect on debt caused by International Internet gambling, not one of the major credit bureaus has any International Internet site as a client. Since these sites are not clients of the credit bureaus, they cannot do anything that will affect your credit report.

    They’re simply trying to scare you into giving them free access to your bank account, so they can collect on any gambling debt you have by syphoning it off your account.

    Ignore them, they can’t affect your credit history at all. If they “report” you to a credit bureau, the credit bureau will take the nice report, cut it into 4 inch by 4 inch sheets, and put these sheets in a neat stack by the toilet where it will get the attention it deserves.

    For more information see: http://www.forbes.com/business/2006/10/02/internet-gamblin

  13. 44 in a Row says:

    What am I missing? Effective early October it became illegal for any US financial institute to transfer funds to a gambling site other than for paramutuel gambling (horse, dog, mule races, etc). That’s five months ago. Is this guy in Canada??

    It’s also illegal to jaywalk. It still happens. Easily, and often. I’ll condense the whole explanation by saying that for financial institutions, monitoring the kind of merchant that money is being transferred to is a fairly complex proposal, and making it “illegal” has little practical effect.

  14. 44 in a Row says:

    Also, it’s absolutely possible, even now, to fund online poker rooms and sportsbooks with credit cards.

  15. streetlamp says:

    Hey everyone, streetlamp the poor naive college student here. Yes it was poor judgement and ignorance to even begin the damn thing. But no there really is nothing more to the story, it was a very bad idea for me to even to deposit funds to here. I dont know what happened for them lock my account and then start this credit thing agaisnt me. My bank statement shows the money was sent because at first I figured that my bank was aware it was a gambling site and had stopped the payment. I still do believe that bodog is one of the much more reputable online booking sites though but in these times its probably just a bad idea in general to do these things. Thanks everyone!

  16. snowferret says:

    He should report thies jackasses.

  17. tonycox says:

    Bodog has just started harrassing me too. On or about jan. 15th i made a $170 deposit to my account. Bodog wasn’t able to process it before the banks stopped processing online withdrawals from checking accounts. There was plenty of money in my account to clear the check but they didn’t present it before the banks stoppped. Now i have no way to get the money to them legally and they are threatening to turn me over to a collection agency. Gambling is always dangerous but now it suicide. If you win you have no way of getting the money and if you lose you can’t get the money to them and they ruin your credit. I am done with online gambling.