As most of us continue to stay at home and are trying to fill down time, more are turning to online gaming.
How much has online gaming increased? According to Statista, as of March 2020, time spent playing video games went up by 45% in the United States. Similarly, Microsoft reported a 130% increase in multiplayer engagement across March and April and Verizon says overall network traffic for video games has been up 102% compared to a typical day.
But, like everything online, this poses some risk. That’s why it’s important to know what gaming scams are out there and how to protect both you and your children from falling prey.
Popular Gaming Scams
Mobile Gaming Scams
If there’s an especially popular online game, some scammers will create fake mobile versions of it in order to install malware on users’ phones.
Another mobile scam involves users receiving an online quiz or survey that promises free items for the game in exchange. Once the user downloads the survey, malware can access all the phone’s sensitive information.
Be on the lookout for any emails asking you to confirm your log-in information and password for your online gaming account. This includes emails with links that take you to a fake log-in page where you input your information for scammers to steal, or QR codes that aim to do the same thing.
Another scam involves using third-party websites that offer add-ons to games (think outfits, special abilities, and weapons for purchase). These ask for your bank account details to make purchases, but really end up using this information to drain your bank account.
How to Protect Yourself
In order to protect yourself and your family from falling prey to these scams:
- Never respond to emails or direct messages requesting personal information (banking, credit card information, etc.) or asking for your account password
- Never click on links or use QR codes in these types of emails
- Use two-factor authentication
- Use strong passwords