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Online gaming

Online gaming

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  • Avoid Malware - Play online games only when you have effective security software and your computer's firewall is activated.
  • Verify License - Play only with authorized and licensed versions of games that you have purchased from reputable sellers.  
  • Legit software - Make sure you keep the game software up to date. While most games automatically update themselves before letting you connect, be cautious about downloading any unauthorized programs relating to the game.
  • Downloading games - Make sure that any downloaded games are authentic by buying from reputable sources.
  • Protect your credentials - Use strong passwords and choose a user name that does not reveal any personal information about you. Rotate passwords and avoid having the same password for different gaming accounts.  Also, don’t use your game password on other non-gaming sites.  Make sure sites asking for your game password are legitimate either through a verification check mark on YouTube or have an official affiliation with the game website and developer.
  • Use two-factor authentication - You’re able to add this to most video games and consoles now and it gives you an added layer of security. Two-factor authentication requires you to provide a second piece of proof in order to verify your identity, usually, a code sent to your mobile device or email. 
  • Don't share your profile or account information - If your game includes the ability to create a personal profile, avoid sharing details such as your real name, address or your account password as scammers will try to become friends with you in order to steal information.  Also, don’t reveal any personal information to other players.  Even if you know them or think you know them. If a friend's account is compromised, the account may be controlled by a fraudster with you or your friend knowing that the account is compromised.
  • Don’t talk to strangers - Only follow friends or people you know and don’t accept the random stranger friend request.  If anyone asks for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as your name, birth date, Social Security number, or even about hobbies and interests through a game or text, don’t respond. If they ask for money, don’t give it to them no matter the reason.
  • Protect virtual property - Watch out when buying or selling ‘property’ that exists inside a computer game.
  • Gaming device disposal - When disposing of your gaming device either by selling, scrapping, giving away, or donating, ensure that all your personal information has been deleted. Delete your account details, and backup or transfer your games to your new device. 
  • Check statements regularly - Check credit card and bank statements to look for any gaming activity that doesn’t belong to you. If you notice anything suspicious, report it immediately to your credit card issuer or bank. Even if you don’t see any fraud on your statement today, it is important and good practice to check often.
  • Use safe web browsing practices - Be conscious of websites that don’t look like the legitimate gaming company you’re dealing with. Researching the company, website, or market place you are considering buying from can help ensure that your card information is in good hands.
  • Clicking links - Be cautious when clicking links in messages. Keep an eye on the URLs you’re being redirected to and make sure it’s exactly the same as the site you’re used to, especially if being asked for credentials. The safest practice to avoid phishing is to type the website URL in without following a link in communication like an in-game message or email.
  • Report fraud - Report any fraudulent activity to the game’s operator. 
  • Don’t share your account - Password sharing or account sharing will increase the odds of having your account hacked, having your information stolen, or losing money. 
  • Use a dedicated credit card - Use a virtual credit card or one that is not your everyday debit card tied to your bank account. This will help you minimize your risk if your credit or debit card number is part of a data breach.

Fortnite Scams:

YouTube Free V-Bucks - In Fortnite there are V-bucks, the virtual money that players can use to buy new gear.  There are many fraudulent websites asking you to share an obscure code from your game account; in some cases, that allows scammers to gain access to your payment information either on your smartphone or game console. The third-party sites also have plenty of ads (which can lead you to download malware on your computer) or follow up with an email, which is really a phishing attempt or to download their app that can have spyware.

One way to spot a scam video is to look at the number of likes and dislikes a video has received, and whether or not the YouTube account is verified by YouTube with a check symbol next to the name.

Android Fortnite App Scam - Another scam that has been affecting Fortnite players is fake apps in the Google Play store. If you download the fake version of the game, you risk downloading spyware and adware that ends up being a real-life cyberattack. Many of these fake apps ask users to rate and review them with pre-written comments that make it look like the app is legitimate. 

You should make sure to check your iOS and Android privacy settings to see if you're allowing third-party app downloads from untrusted sites. If you do, you may want to change that setting or delete those apps. You should only get apps from the official Apple and Android stores.

How Criminals Make Money with Online Gaming:

Account takeover - In account takeover situations, fraudsters get hold of a player’s user ID and password for a game. Typically, they obtain login credentials either from a malware program or through a phishing scam. Once the account is accessed, fraudsters have the reign of everything, from the attached credit card number to virtual goods.

Phishing - Another fraud tactic that translates well to the gaming world is phishing. Fraudsters will often use emails that look as if they are legitimate communication from a gaming creator, publisher, or distributor.  However, the email will contain a link that will ask for and capture a player’s username and password.

Processing stolen cards - Fraudsters will use a stolen credit card by buying goods in the game’s virtual economy. Avoid any offers of discounts on virtual goods.  In most cases, virtual goods are stolen.  Fraudsters will not only make money on the stolen virtual goods but can also get your card number to sell or use for fraudulent purchases.

In-app purchases - While many games on your cellphone are free to download, there are in-app transactions for extra spins or for getting rid of time restrictions. Once your credit card is in, you could be compromised.

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