Kids falling victim to online game fraud – is your child at risk?

Children playing Fortnite games could be vulnerable to ID theft and fraud attempts, according to reports from Action Fraud[1].

The UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre claims that since April 2017 there has been an influx Fortnite related fraud, with reports coming primarily from parents on behalf of their children.

Most incidents have been the result of a gamer seeing an advert on social media that asks people to click on a web link and enter some information about their account, in order to receive VBucks (game currency). Fraudsters can then log in and create fraudulent charges.

Other instances of ID theft and fraud have occurred when criminals have asked gamers for their phone numbers in return for Vbucks, which they then use to sign the individual up for premium rate subscription services. There have also been reports of fraudsters offering VBucks for free then charging for them, as well as selling access to people’s Fortnite accounts.

How big is the problem?

Between April 1st 2017 and March 31st 2018 there were 35 reports of Fortnight related fraud, amounting to an average cost of £146 per victim.

While this might not seem like a lot, the nature of the scam means kids could easily fall victim as they try to get their hands on free VBucks.

Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, 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.”

Top tips for protecting your kids and yourself from online game fraud

Action Fraud has compiled a list of things you can do and teach your kids if you’re worried about online game fraud.

1. Question what you’re being asked

If you’re being asked for personal or financial information in return for ‘free’ vouchers or credit, question whether or not this seems right. Asking for information in return for something is a common tactic used by fraudsters.

2. Listen to your gut

According to Action Fraud, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is, so don’t be afraid to refuse requests for information if you’re not sure.

3. Only buy game add-ons from official websites

It’s always a good idea to avoid purchasing anything from a site that you don’t know to avoid accidentally submitting your details to fraudsters.

4. Don’t click on unknown links

If a link isn’t known, chances are it’s fraudulent. You should always be wary of links in emails that don’t look right, especially if they come from an unknown email address.

5. Report instances of fraud and cybercrime

You can let Action Fraud know if you’ve been a victim either online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

[1] https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/fraudsters-targeting-online-gamers-jun18