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Experts warn to be wary of March Madness scam texts

Americans lost $10.3 billion to a wide variety of internet scams last year, according to an FBI report last month.

HOUSTON — Sports betting has exploded. So have scam texts.

With March Madness underway, scammers are targeting people with fake contests, bracket challenges, promotions, prizes and betting opportunities surrounding the tournament.

Many of these texts will appear to be from betting sites like DraftKings or FanDuel, but they’re really scammers trying to get you to click malicious links and give up sensitive information.

Chris Drake, senior vice president at iconectiv, said that nowadays people have to be more vigilant.

READ MORE: Want to bet on March Madness but you live in Texas? Here's what you can do

"For March Madness, they're basically recycling tried and true methods, like, 'Here's a prize you've won. Here's a promotion you can enter. Here are some tickets to a game that are hard to come by.' These are generally almost always false. They've been made up as a lure to get the person to open that," Drake said.

Experts said that if you want to place a bet on a game look for "white-listed" sportsbooks that have been approved in your area. In the United States, ESPN has a list of where sports betting is legal.

"You should go to a legitimate site. You already know the NCAA website is running a bracket challenge," Drake said. "CBS Sports, ESPN, DraftKings, FanDuel, they're all running real bracket challenges. Don't click on any links. Go type in the address."

Drake said if scammers ever ask you for something besides a credit card, it's probably a scam. If you think you've fallen for a scam, freeze your credit. If you need to, it's free and easy.

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