Online fraud is everywhere, and gaming is no exception. According to research, around 20% of gamers have been the victims of fraud or know someone who has been, arguably a much higher number than most people would expect.
Despite the high prevalence of online gaming scams, about 29% of the gamers who participated in the study say they would not know how to spot a scam. With these considerations in mind, here is a brief guide that should help you detect and prevent online gaming fraud.
Common scams in the online gaming environment
It may not always be possible to detect a scam attempt while gaming. That being said, there are common patterns you should look out for. The more skilled you are in detecting red flags, the less likely you are to become a victim yourself.
One such red flag is the presence of unusual online activity in your gaming account. Examples include unrecognized in-game purchases, changes in account details, or messages sent from your account that you did not author.
The examples above are situations where someone has gained access to your account. In some cases, you might completely lose control over your account and, sometimes, over financial assets. If you believe someone has gained access to your gaming page, change your passwords immediately and contact customer support.
Another common scam in the gaming environment is phishing. Victims of this type of fraud may receive messages or emails from individuals pretending to be game administrators or fellow gamers. Phishing messages request users to provide personal information or account details, often in exchange for some perks, such as in-game rewards.
Telling genuine messages from game administrators from phishing messages can be challenging. For this reason, it is important to always check the authenticity of the sender while keeping in mind that game developers and administrators do not typically ask for login credentials via unsolicited messages.
Attempts to deceive gamers can also take place during a gaming session. Examples of in-game scams include receiving deals such as rare in-game items, virtual currency, or other game-related advantages in exchange for sensitive information. When offers look too good to be true, they often are. Even if an offer seems genuine, you should not provide money or personal information to people you do not know.
Strategies to prevent gaming fraud
Learning how to detect scam-like patterns is the only way to reduce the risk of becoming a victim. There are a variety of strategies you can use to protect your personal and financial data. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Use security tools
Using robust security measures is a must if you want to do your best to avoid losing your data or money. For example, make sure to use strong, unique passwords for your gaming accounts. Avoid using the same passcode over and over again and install a password management application that will help you generate strong combinations.
If you are going to set a password by yourself, consider using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. It is also a good idea to avoid common words such as your name or birthday.
Another useful security measure is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This tool adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification beyond your password. Specific examples include codes sent to your phone, facial recognition, or fingerprints. By activating MFA on your accounts, there is a significantly lesser risk of unauthorized access, as actors with negative intentions would typically have to have access to both your devices and passwords.
If you conduct financial transactions within games, it is best to stay away from unrecognized payment methods. Examples of payment methods you can generally trust include credit cards, PayPal, and Payoneer.
Another important tip to take into consideration when conducting online financial transactions is to refrain from entering credit card or other financial data on forms that are not embedded within web pages that have a valid SSL certificate. To determine whether a given webpage is encrypted, look for a lock icon next to the website’s URL. When a page is not SSL secure, your browser will normally let you know and warn you against providing sensitive information.
Check strangers who request data from you
While it is not always possible to be fully confident that a stranger is who they claim to be, there are several ways by which you can find out information about those who demand information or money from you. For instance, if someone contacts you claiming to represent the company that provides gaming services, you can always contact the platform’s customer support to find out whether this is true or not.
Another way to learn information about individuals is by using people’s search websites. On Nuwber, you can find phone numbers, addresses, social media profiles, and a lot of other useful details. To run a background check on someone on this people search engine, all you need to know is their name, phone number, or address.
Bottom line: Prevention is better than detection
Learning how to detect the most common types of online gaming fraud can significantly lower your chances of being exposed to ill-intentioned con artists or losing money and personal information.
Out of all the strategies you might want to use, these two are arguably the most important ones: Strong security measures such as complex passwords and MFA and commitment to never give out sensitive data to unknown individuals.
As long as you implement all the protection measures discussed above, the chances of losing valuable information or money while enjoying a game are relatively low.