From Fortnite to Fifa, Online Video Game Players Warned of Increase in Fraud | Scams


Online video game players such as Roblox, Fortnite, and Fifa are warned to watch out for scammers, as gangs target platforms.

Multiplayer games have exploded during pandemic lockdowns as people turn to socializing in virtual spaces.

One of the UK’s biggest banks, Lloyds, is so concerned with how games are used that it will be launching a warning code for players and a character to go with it this week.

Its research found that a fifth of gamers had either been the victim of a gambling-related scam or knew someone who had done it, but less than a third said they knew how to spot one.

“Scammers are always looking for new ways to cheat people with their money, and the world of video games is no exception,” said Philip Robinson, director of fraud prevention at Lloyds.

“These are often organized criminal gangs that don’t care who they swindle and will happily prepare young players to gain their trust and access their personal information.”

Research found that the average gamer was spending 14 hours per week on screen, and gamers were spending more time and money in-game than before.

“Add to that an environment where interaction and trust with strangers has been somewhat normalized, and you have a rich environment that is ripe for picking up a scammer,” said Robinson.

Scams vary in complexity. Lloyds said that game console fraud, where crooks trick victims into buying machines they never receive, was one of the most common types of shopping scams reported by its customers.

A common crime involves fraudsters tricking people into downloading malware onto their device, often through adware for a game for less than what is charged through official channels.

Phishing drills, where players are tricked into giving out valuable personal information, are also common, using in-game emails and chats, while some gangs are said to use the platforms to recruit money mules – Bank customers who agree to have money deposited into their accounts. .

A 20-year-old player who was interviewed for the research said he received a notification that there had been an unusual connection to his game console account from Saudi Arabia. “Then I tried to load my account and realized that my email address had been changed and that I had been blocked… It turned out that the scammer had managed to change the name, the e-mail, password and other account details, while having the ability to spend money on the debit card linked to my account.

The code – a set of guidelines to help players protect themselves – will prompt people to “Shield”: an acronym for actions such as filtering chats with strangers and withholding personal information.

The UK gaming companies trade association Ukie said the code would help players be on their toes. Its Managing Director, Jo Twist, said, “Games are an extremely popular form of entertainment for all ages, and the game companies work incredibly hard to ensure that gamers have a safe and enjoyable time in the games themselves.

“However, malicious scammers are always looking for opportunities to scam consumers in an online world.”

Three years ago, Action Fraud, the organization that collects reports of scams, warned that criminals were targeting Fortnite players.

In most cases, players had seen an advertisement on a social networking site saying that if they followed a link and submitted information they would get free V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency.

Details were used to log into the game and generate fees, or sell on accounts to other players. On average, players had lost £ 146 each due to the scams.

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