Cybercriminals these days have evolved from sending emails with virus-infested links to conducting far more nefarious and sophisticated scams. For instance, we just recently read about online criminals using a popular show to infect people’s computers. Unfortunately, it seems that virtually every corner of the internet these days can be vulnerable to scammers.
The world of online gaming is no exception. With the industry growing bigger every year, one regrettable drawback is that it has also become an increasingly attractive target for cybercrime. In fact, there are numerous ways that scammers use online gaming and betting to compromise people’s security.
Selling Fake Virtual Assets
Many of today’s online games ask payers to pay for upgrades or access to new features. Scammers know this, which is why sales of virtual assets are listed among the most common scams to hit online gamers. What usually happens here is that a gamer will be enticed to do a trade, only to find out the person on the other end of said trade doesn’t even own virtual assets. Sites like eBay have even tried to stop the practice, precisely because so many of the assets being sold on the site were stolen in the first place.
Cell Phone Dialing Scams
This ploy relies on players downloading games onto their phones, where secretly implemented programs will then dial long-distance and premium calls. Some of these calls can even reach as far as Antarctica! Unfortunately, hapless victims have no way of knowing what’s going on until they receive their abnormally high phone bills. While this scam is known to primarily target users of Windows Mobile phones, it’s best no matter what device you use to remain vigilant when it comes to downloads.
Fraudulent Online Betting sites
Millions of people all over the world spend a small fortune by frequently betting on sports. And unfortunately, plenty of these people accidentally wind up trusting their money to fraudulent sites that avoid taxes, don’t exist anywhere as physical companies, and fail to pay out winnings. Fortunately, this is one of the easier ones of these issues to deal with. Professional online betting resources carry detailed reviews of major sportsbooks, complete with mentions of security certifications. These resources direct bettors to reliable and legitimate platforms. So, essentially, it’s just important to do your research when engaging in this gaming-adjacent gambling activity.
Unpaid Game Testing
In a twist on the usual scams involving phony work from home jobs, victims in these cases are promised appealing amounts of money to test beta versions of online games or other entertainment. The catch, however, is that they will then be asked to spend their own money on leads or useless training kits, or the games themselves. Naturally, the next step is to pay for these things, write up reviews, and find out that no one was ever going to pay. To avoid this, it’s best to simply make sure that the job in question comes from an established developer (though this sort of job is quite rare in the first place).
All of the above can result in unfortunate and irrecoverable losses. However, with a vigilant approach and awareness of these types of scams, you can still engage in various online gaming activities safely.
In-house nerd. PC Gamer. Probably one of the most try-hard FPS gamers in the team but still never manages to maintain a rank beyond silver.