Betting sites advise caution after accessing accounts and withdrawing funds

Online sports betting operators on Monday encouraged customers to take steps to protect their accounts after several companies observed fraudulent activity in recent weeks.

DraftKings said Monday that a “small number” of betting accounts were accessed by unauthorized users, resulting in about $300,000 in customer funds being siphoned off in an attack the company believes caused by the theft caused by login information from third-party websites.

Sports betting media site The Action Network reported that at least one customer was blocked from their DraftKings account on Sunday and funds were withdrawn from the bank account used to deposit at the sportsbook.

“DraftKings is aware that some customers are experiencing irregular activity with their accounts. We currently believe that these customers’ credentials were compromised on other websites and then used to access their DraftKings accounts where they used the same credentials,” Paul Liberman, DraftKings co-founder, said in a statement. “We have seen no evidence that DraftKings’ systems were breached to obtain this information. We have identified less than $300,000 in affected customer funds and we intend to heal every affected customer.

“We strongly encourage customers to use unique passwords for DraftKings and all other sites, and we strongly recommend that customers do not share their passwords with anyone, including third-party sites, to track betting information on DraftKings and other betting apps.”

Ryan Butler, a journalist covering the gaming industry, wrote on Twitter Monday that his DraftKings account was hacked and that FanDuel sent him an email that an attempt was made to gain access to his FanDuel account.

FanDuel reported increased activity from unauthorized actors attempting to gain access to accounts, but “so far, customers have not been impacted,” a company spokesman said Monday afternoon. Caesars Sportsbook also said Monday it was unaffected.

The unauthorized access at DraftKings came just weeks after several professional poker players reported that unauthorized betting accounts had been opened and funds withdrawn from personal checking accounts in their names at BetMGM. Todd Witteles, a well-known poker pro from California, said someone set up a sportsbook in West Virginia in his name in late October, deposited $10,000 from his checking account into the sportsbook, and withdrew $7,500 to a Venmo debit card on the same day. Witteles estimates that more than 50 poker players at BetMGM experienced a similar problem, which mostly occurred in late October and early November. BetMGM said it is actively investigating the situation.

“The security of our customers’ accounts is of the utmost importance to us,” a BetMGM spokesman said in a statement to ESPN on Friday. “We encourage all affected customers to contact our customer service department directly.”

It is not known whether the incidents at DraftKings and BetMGM are related.

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