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Over the past few years there has been a paradigm shift in the world of computer gaming, whether on console, computer or mobile devices, where the focus is no longer on just selling you a game. Instead, the focus is on you buying an in-game currency or virtual currency that allows you either unlock additional content or offers some advantage or cosmetic difference on how your character looks within the game. As a result, this is raking in hundreds of millions for some game developers and the criminals have taken note. 
 
Many of the games are technically free, and there are millions of players that do not buy in-game currency, but the downside is that progress within the game is extremely slow. So the criminals offer as bait, free in-game currencies like Fortnite’s V-Bucks or Robux from the gaming platform Roblox, potentially worth hundreds of pounds. So, what do the criminals get out it? Many of the scams have a survey component, gleaning personal information that many would not normally give, followed by your username and password for the gaming account concerned. To top it off, you may be asked to share your friends email addresses with the promise of more in-game currency or to buy (via a credit card) reduced rate currency.
 
OK, I hear many of you saying, it’s not that bad, it’s just a gaming account. The problem is password reuse, together with all the personal and financial information you (or your children) may have just given away allowing for credential stuffing, credit card fraud and a whole host of methods to deliver malware (eg download and run this to claim your reward) or fake apps. The problem is so big that there are over 4000+ registered web domains trying to scam people around just the game Fortnite alone. These often appear as YouTube videos showing how to ‘hack’ the game to earn vast amounts of in-game currency.
 
Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and if someone is offering you something for free potentially worth a lot of money, it is probably more than likely a scam. Best to protect yourself with the free two-step verification offered by many of these games to protect your account and not be lured in by the bait of free in-game currency.

Read more practical, no-nonsense advice in Nick Ioannou’s book, A Practical Guide to Cyber Security for Small Businesses.

About the Author:

Nick Ioannou is an IT professional, blogger, author and public speaker on cloud and security issues, with over 20 years’ corporate experience, including 15 years using cloud/hosted software as a service (SaaS) systems.

He started blogging in 2012 on free IT resources (http://nick-ioannou.com) currently with over 400+ posts. Author of Internet Security Fundamentals, contributing author of two books Managing Cybersecurity Risk and the recently published Conquer The Web.

More free security advice and resources and information on how to contact Nick can be found at www.booleanlogical.com