Online gamers have been lured to reveal personal details in exchange for gaming currencies and a promise of free premium upgrades, according to Action Fraud, UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime.
According to an advisory posted by Action Fraud on its website, fraudsters apply various schemes to collect money and data from victims, which mostly include offering Vbucks, or the currency used in the game Fortnite, a co-op sandbox survival game developed by Epic Games.
“If you are downloading or purchasing game add-ons, make sure you use the official website. You should never reveal your password or banking details to someone you don’t know, or be tempted to click on links to (the) unknown,” said Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, in the advisory.
Fraudsters would advertise on social media channels leading victims to a web link and then ask to provide personal information to be able to claim “freebies.” Later on, the victims are forced to pay for certain services they thought were free.
Unsuspecting victims fall for different schemes the fraudsters offer in exchange for Vbucks. Cybercriminals would offer Vbucks in exchange for the gamer’s phone numbers. In other incidents observed by Action Fraud, the victims would be signed up for a premium subscription service, again in exchange for “free” Vbucks. Later on, victims will be charged for the Vbucks they thought were given to them at no extra charge.
Steam Card gamers, on the other hand, would be asked to buy Steam Cards so they could be eligible for tax refunds and rebates. The fraudsters would claim to come from legitimate organizations in order to deceive the victims. Steam Card values are redeemed just by providing the serial code read over the phone.
Action Fraud said it received 35 reports, which mostly came from parents acting on behalf of their children, of fraud involving Fortnite posting a total loss of £5,119 or around $6,000. It cost each victim around £146 or close to $195. The agency received 37 reports of Steam Card fraud with reports of losses amounting to £44,455.98 or around $59,000 or costing each victim £123.88 or $164.
Security agencies have time and again reminded people to be wary of schemes that can steal personal data. Action Fraud provided reminders to everyone to be more skeptical than before when it comes to services asking too much information. It won’t hurt if people check the official website of certain products and services and there is no harm in trying to reach out through social media if gamers feel something is not right especially if it involves providing financial information.