Many online bingo players use wireless connections. If the connections are unsecured they are vulnerable and anyone within range would have access to the information stored on the computer including online bingo account details. A case in 2010 illustrates just how important it is to secure any wireless computer connections. Rita Tapping, 63, from reading was a victim that was swindled out of £9,000 pounds and offered a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the swindlers. Tapping said she started to play online bingo while caring for her sick husband. After a stroke in 2007 Mrs. Tapping devoted all her time to caring for her husband. She said she would put her husband to bed around 6 PM and since she had to stay at home she played online bingo for entertainment and socialization.
In April of 2008 she discovered that almost £9,000 had been siphoned from her bank account. Mrs. Tapping said that she usually only wagers small amounts up to £20 at a time. The cyber thieves had made withdrawals from her bank accounts using her online bingo accounts. The thieves could not benefit financially from the thefts because any winnings are deposited into the account registered to the bingo account. There is no evidence that the thieves tried to add other bank accounts to the bingo account. The scammers actually won about £3,000 leaving Mrs. Tapping £6,000 out of pocket.
Mrs. Tapping believes a local took advantage of the fact that she did not use a secure wireless network. Tapping’s complaints to the police and online bingo company fell on deaf ears. Tapping stated “My only crime was I used an unprotected wireless router. I think somebody local picked up on that. They did not need to get into my account because I was already in it. They picked up on where I was and I believe they gambled for fun and kicks.” After filing her complaints with the police and online bingo operator Mrs. Tapping decided to take the matter up with her bank. All of the parties involved ruled against her and said there is insufficient evidence of fraud.
Tapping was offered a settlement of £3,600 from Dream Bingo. On the advice of her bank Tapping did not accept the offer. Tapping said the bank told her if she accepted the offer the case could no longer be treated as fraud. In the meantime her husband suffered another stroke and she had to put him in a care facility where he died. Mrs. Tapping’s case clearly illustrates the importance of using a secured password protected wireless network. Hopefully the thieves will be caught at some point.