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Fraudsters targeting online gamers

25th June 2018

  • Action Fraud is warning parents and online gamers of the risk of fraud involving Steam Cards and Fortnite

  • Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, Action Fraud received 35 reports of Fortnite related fraud, with a total loss off £5,119 – an average of £146 per victim.
     
  • In the same period, Action Fraud received 37 reports of Steam Card fraud, with a total loss of £44,455.98 – an average of £123.88 per victim

How is Fortnite fraud happening?

Action Fraud has seen reports, made mainly by parents on behalf of their children, of fraudsters who are taking advantage of Fortnite gamers. In most reports, the gamer has seen an advert on a social media channel which claims that by following a web link and entering some information, they will receive free Vbucks (currency for the game). Fraudsters will ask the victim for information about their account which will then allow them to log in and create fraudulent charges. 
 
Fraudsters are targeting victims in many other ways. These include asking for people’s phone numbers in return for Vbucks to then sign the victim up to a premium rate subscription service, selling access to other people’s Fortnite accounts, and offering VBucks for free then actually charging for it. 

How is Steam Card fraud happening?

Action Fraud has seen a spike in fraudsters requesting Steam Cards as a way to gain upfront fees from unsuspecting victims.
 
Victims are being called by fraudsters, claiming to be from well-known organisations. The victims are instructed to purchase Steam Cards in order to pay for the processing of tax refunds or rebates, PPI refunds, administrative costs for processing loans and for providing anti-virus software.
 
As with iTunes gift cards, the fraudster doesn’t require the physical Steam Card to redeem the value. Instead, the victim is asked to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
 
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: 
 
“It is vital that both parents and those playing games online are able to spot the signs of fraud, as fraudsters will go to great lengths to try to steal your money. 
 
"It is also important that parents make their children aware of the threat of fraud online. 
 
“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 unknown. 
 
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud.”

Protect yourself from gaming fraud 

  • HMRC, or any other government department, will never ask for payment in the form of Steam Cards, or any other gift card, such as iTunes.
     
  • Personal information – Always question requests for personal or financial information. The promise of 'free' vouchers or credits is a common tactic used by fraudsters to persuade people to give out sensitive, personal or financial details. 
     
  • Listen to your instincts – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
     
  • Every Report Matters – If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.