Gambling scam ongoing in the Netherlands, regulator warns

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has released information pertaining to the reported ongoing scam in the country, in which scammers are looking to reclaim non-existent gambling debts from consumers.

Lootsma and Partners, Bailiff Smits and Co and Inter Payment Service have all been named by the ACM as the collection agencies that form part of the scam, with Kansspelautoriteit, the country’s gaming regulator, backing the warning and subsequent advice issued.

In a media release issued by the Kansspelautoriteit, it is stated: “Reports show that the collection agencies mentioned are putting consumers under pressure to pay an outstanding bill. Often there is no agreement at all, so the claim is unjustified.

“Sometimes it concerns alleged agreements from years ago. The collection agencies claim that the consumer is obliged to pay. They threaten consumers with far-reaching measures such as seizure of goods or bank accounts.

“It is also said that goods are seized if the consumer does not pay on time. A collection agency cannot take such measures at all. Only an official bailiff may attach an attachment after permission from the judge.”

The information has detailed that individuals have been contacted by the scammers either by telephone or email, with scammers urging customers to pay the supposed overdue payments – with the agencies in question emphasising that the debt emanated from a lottery or other game of chance.

The advice from both parties is a simple “do not pay”, with the ACM waning that Lootsma and Partners, Bailiff Smits and Co and Inter Payment Service could form part of a larger network that attempts to enforce payment of unjustified claims under varying guises.

Each agency is not registered with the Chamber of Commerce, which is mandatory for those wishing to operate in the Netherlands, with it also stressed that the information displayed on each website is also incorrect.

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