Punters are being duped by a scammers' trick this Melbourne Cup racing carnival, signing up for bogus betting schemes and watching their money disappear.
Warnings are being issued to unwary Australians receiving out-of-the-blue invitations to join fake betting syndicates and buy betting software.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says scammers are luring punters into "legitimate investments" using falsified graphs and forecasts on brochures or websites.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said if consumers signed up for betting schemes, the odds are they would never see their money again.
"Almost $3 million has been reported lost to sports betting scams this year, with the ACCC receiving over 800 complaints," Ms Rickard said.
"Unfortunately, these figures are likely to rise as the spring racing carnival approaches and punters are more willing to try their luck."
Scammers are also peddling betting software - costing between $1000 and $15,000 - which they say can accurately predict race results."Before handing over your money, ask yourself, if someone can accurately predict gambling results, why would they need to sell it you to make money?"