What is an ONLINE Gaming scam
The growth of the internet and digital platforms have made it possible for industries to flourish, and the online gaming industry is no exception. In 2018, the global gaming industry consisted of 2.3 billion consumers, who spent nearly $138 billion on games. Where previously, it only attracted the younger men, these days people of all genders and ages play online games for recreation or even professionally. As the online gaming industry has expanded, so too have opportunities for fraudsters, who know players are vulnerable, and use social engineering to exploit them and steal money using fake apps and websites.
Online gaming scams are used to steal personal information and could take several forms. Fraudsters may send you a link to click on to download a gaming file which then installs malicious software onto your device which logs your keystrokes. Another tactic is account takeovers where fraudsters exploit a real games online account to send other innocent players free skins and points when they put in their username and password. In addition, players could be offered free trials or other ‘freebies’ such weapons or tokens if they click on a link. There are even a fake game apps which can be downloaded at a cost from the Google Play or Apple’s App Store onto one’s mobile phone. Fake competition video games are also prevalent and are designed with the intent to dupe users into paying fraudulent entrance fees and steal personal banking details. Finally, legitimate online gaming marketplaces may sell ‘keys’ that are stolen or are fake.
- Never click on links in unsolicited emails, even if it refers to an online game you recognise;
- Do not believe the content of unsolicited emails blindly. If you are worried about what is alleged, use your own contact details to contact the sender to confirm;
- Watch out for spam messages in your player mailboxes
- Only download online games or extension packs from website that you are familiar with and ensure it is a legitimate release;
- Always cross check the name of the developer on legitimate websites or platforms to check if a game is genuine;
- Use YIMA, a website vulnerability scanner, where you can do website security check for scams, known vulnerabilities and security headers.
- Create strong complicated passwords that are not easy to decipher and change them often;
- Protect your online gaming account login credentials;
- Be careful who you befriend in online gaming communities, and never share any personal information with just anyone you play against online;
- Trust your gut – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.