Business Tech & Gaming

Friday 21 September 2018

Warning issued about fraudsters preying on online gamers who play Fortnite

‘Fortnite’ is a very popular game with Irish children as young as six years old
‘Fortnite’ is a very popular game with Irish children as young as six years old

Vicky Shaw

Parents and online gamers are being warned about the risk of fraudsters preying on people who play Fortnite.

Action Fraud said between April 1 2017 and March 31 2018, it received 35 reports of fraud relating to Fortnite, with a total loss off £5,119 - an average of £146 per victim.

It said it 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 V-Bucks (currency for the game).

Fraudsters will ask the victim for information about their account - which will then allow them to log in and rack up fraudulent charges.

Fraudsters are also targeting victims in other ways - including selling access to other people's Fortnite accounts, and offering V-Bucks for free then charging for it.

Action Fraud has also seen a spike in fraudsters requesting Steam Cards as a way to gain up-front 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, admin costs for processing loans and for providing anti-virus software.

As with frauds involving iTunes gift cards, the fraudster does not 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.

Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, 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."

Here are Action Fraud's tips to protect yourself against gaming fraud:

1. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and any other government department will never ask for payment in the form of Steam Cards, or any other gift card, such as iTunes.

2. 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.

3. 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.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud.

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