Online games are a booming industry, & like every lucrative market they have their dark side. Scams targeting online gamers have taken on a myriad of different forms, ranging from minor inconveniences to devastating losses. Now that online games make up a $15 billion industry; hackers have come up with countless nefarious ways to get their hands into this treasure trove.
These scams have been developed to appear as innocent as possible; & even the most experienced gamer can accidentally become a victim. The danger has never been more real; especially now that an increasing amount of teens have smartphones hooked up to their parent’s credit card. For this reason it’s essential to educate both yourself & your children. So you can avoid falling prey to these devious scams. Take a look at our list of the 5 most popular online gaming scams; so you can avoid blissfully playing into the hands of a hacker.
Top 5 Online Gaming Scams
Scam #5: Online Quizzes
Many online games work on their own monetary system; running off of a point or credit system that allows you to unlock extra features. While this in itself isn’t bad, it opens up doors to a wide array of scams. One of the most popular is where the player receives an email or message; offering them to complete some sort of quiz or IQ test. When they participate in the quiz they have to give out their cellphone number; so that they can receive a text with the results.
Unbeknownst to the user; by participating in the quiz they have accidentally signed up for a monthly service like ring tone downloads or astrology reports. The worst part is they don’t need your credit card info to charge you; your cellphone number is all they need. This scam is especially effective at tricking teenagers whose cellphone bill is being paid by their parents. Protect yourself by checking your cellphone bill for any fraudulent charges.
Scam #4: Phony Game Testing Jobs
There are several scammers that prey on peoples’ passion for playing games. If you receive a sensational offer to get paid to test out a new game, beware. Nine times out of ten the only payment you will receive is a virus; that steals all of your personal information & devastates your device. Avoid this pitfall by realizing that any developed gaming company doesn’t need you to test their games.
Scam #3: Online Game Phishing
While we all know not to respond to random emails asking for a password change, a lot of people still fall for it when it’s cleverly disguised as their favorite game provider. Your love for gaming can cloud your judgement, & hackers take advantage of it. Many send out emails that are identical to the ones you receive from your most trusted brands, the only difference is they want your password.
They take you to a landing page that you think you have seen many times before, but when you enter in your password you quickly lose all assets associated with the game. In extreme cases they can even access your credit card info. Avoid this by always circumventing the emails & going directly to the site for any password change.
Scam #2: Buying Points & Credits
Many people get so consumed with the desire to advance in their games that they will do anything for more points & credits. Don’t ever buy points or credits from 3rd party sellers because odds are they were stolen by the scam listed above. Even if you have no qualms about purchasing stolen goods you are still putting yourself at risk because your newly acquired credits usually have some unwanted malware attached.
Scam #1: Unlimited Game Downloads
Many people get seduced by deals that offer unlimited game downloads for a flat fee. Unfortunately, once they pay this fee they quickly realize that they were ripped off when they get directed to torrent sites for their “free” games. Torrent sites are notorious for clogging up your device with malware & you definitely don’t have to pay a fee to use them. So never pay for unlimited downloads.