The online gaming industry is a juggernaut that generates profits measured in billions. For comparison purposes, we can say that it is worth three times as much as the global box office sales generated in a year.
It is estimated that there are around 2.5 billion gamers in the world, and almost half of them spend money on games, be they online casino games or regular video games. Whenever there is that much money in circulation, nefarious scammers are bound to want to get hold of it and dupe the gamers into giving them the cash.
Especially now, when the COVID-19 crisis is raging and people are spending more time playing online games than ever before, we need to be aware of the dangers the world of gaming is facing.
How Swindlers Target People
There’s no denying that online gaming is a great way to spend your free time, socializing in the virtual world with people from all across the globe. But, it might make us a bit more vulnerable and a target for cybercriminals. This danger should never be overlooked, so we need to keep in mind that there are people out there looking to steal our personal and financial information.
These scammers’ main goal is to get hold of your sensitive information so that they can steal the money from your accounts or sell the information for cash. These are some of the methods they use:
Phishing is one of the most common strategies these scammers employ to trick people. They might send you a message containing a fake link to a game, a special in-game bonus, or another common thing related to gaming.
The links lead to what looks like a game’s log-in page, prompting you to input a username, password, and other sensitive information. If you do that, you will jeopardize your banking information and other sensitive details. The attackers may also choose to target your IP address, enabling them to learn your physical location as well as your full name and other sensitive data.
Another frequently used strategy to get gamers to divulge personal information is through the use of third-party websites. Players will be prompted to go to a website where they can allegedly buy add-ons for a game they are playing, such as character costumes, weapons, or new abilities.
Then, at checkout, players are asked to insert their banking details to generate the online currency valid in the game. This way, scammers get banking details from players who have purchased something they will never receive.
Scamming Via Fake Mobile Apps and Sites
Gamers should be wary of fake mobile apps pretending to be official releases of acclaimed games. Even some of the best selling video games do not have official mobile versions, which gave the scammers an idea — build a clone or a fake mobile app and trick people into downloading it.
These apps are malware looking to mine data from gamers, leading to financial losses and identity theft. There have also been instances of fake lotteries being created touting big lottery wins. Unaware players would then buy the lottery tickets and, unfortunately, fall victim to these elaborate schemes.
How to Protect Yourself From Online Gaming Scams
The authorities, as well as security experts and advisers, always urge vigilance when gaming online. Some of the best tips you can follow to stay safe while gaming are the following:
- Only play on verified and trustworthy websites, and if you want to purchase anything, make sure to use official web stores rather than third-party websites.
- Do not reply to messages and emails asking for your banking details, personal information, or username and password. Legitimate sites will never ask for such information via email or instant messaging apps.
- Do not divulge or publicly share personal information and details.
- Always use a strong password, and preferably a two-factor authentication system to protect your passwords.
- Login credentials should never be shared, even with friends.
- When buying things online, use your debit cards because they have top-notch security systems.
- Read reviews – For example, in the casino industry, while there are millions of scam sites, many review portals will actively vet their sites reviewed and only work with trusted partners even for new brands like in this no deposit online casino Canada.
- Protect your IP address and make sure your router is updated with the latest firewalls and protection systems. You can also opt for the use of a VPN (virtual public network). A VPN system will protect your online traffic by redirecting it to a separate server, thus masking your location and making it appear as if you were accessing the internet from someplace else.