Online video game players like Roblox, Fortnite, and Fifa are being warned to beware of scammers, amid concerns that gangs are targeting platforms.
Multiplayer games flourished during the pandemic closures when people began to socialize in virtual spaces.
One of the UK’s largest banks, Lloyds, is so concerned about how games are being used that this week it will release a warning code for players and a character to accompany it.
Their research found that a fifth of gamers had either been the victim of a gambling scam or knew someone who had, but less than a third said they knew how to spot one.
“Scammers are always looking for new ways to cheat people out of 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 who don’t care who they defraud and who will gladly train young players to gain their trust and access their personal information.”
The research found that the average gamer spent 14 hours a week on screen and that gamers spent more time and money on the game than before.
“Add to this an environment where interaction and trust with strangers has somewhat normalized, and you have a rich environment that is ripe for the selection of scammers,” Robinson said.
Scams vary in complexity. Lloyds said that game console fraud, where scammers trick victims into buying machines they never receive, are among the most common types of shopping scams reported by their customers.
A common crime involves scammers tricking people into downloading malware onto their device, often through ad-supported game add-ons at a lower price than official channels charge.
Phishing exercises, in which players are persuaded to reveal valuable personal data, are also common, via in-game emails and chats, while some gangs are reportedly using the platforms to recruit mules from money: bank customers who agree to have money deposited into their accounts. .
A 20-year-old gamer who was interviewed for the investigation reported that he received a notification that there had been an unusual login 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 I had been blocked… It turned out that the scammer had managed to change the name, email, password and other account details, at the same time I had 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 urge people to “Shield” – an acronym for actions that include detecting conversations with strangers and hiding personal data.
The UK trade association of game companies, Ukie, said the code would help gamers to be on their guard. CEO Jo Twist said: “Games are a very popular form of entertainment for all ages, and game companies work incredibly hard to ensure that players have a safe and enjoyable time in games.
“However, malicious scammers are always looking for opportunities to scam consumers in an online world.”
Three years ago, Action Fraud, the body that collects scam reports, warned that criminals were targeting Fortnite players.
In most cases, players had seen an ad on a social media site saying that if they followed a link and submitted some information, they would get free V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency.
The details were used to log into the game and generate charges, or sell the accounts to other players. On average, players had lost £ 146 each through the scams.
The full code is at askaboutgames.com/shield-against-scams
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism