Parents and online gamers are being warned about 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 the global gaming sensation, with a total loss off £5,119 – an average of £146 per victim.
The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime said it has seen reports – more often than not made by parents on behalf of their children – of fraudsters who are taking advantage of Fortnite gamers.
In most reports, the gamer has seen an online advert claiming they will receive free V-Bucks (currency for the game) by following a web link and entering personal information.
Scammers then dupe the victim into handing over details about their bank account – which can potentially see them losing a small fortune.
But the Fraudsters are also 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.
Action Fraud has also 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.
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.”
Action Fraud tips to protect yourself against gaming fraud:
- 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.
- 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.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it Action Fraud online (www.actionfraud.police.uk) or by calling 0300 123 2040.