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What’s the harm in spending time smashing candy, conquering crosswords, and beating opponents online? Critics have a lot to say about the consequences of too many games. But cybersecurity experts will tell you there’s more to worry about than just screen addiction.
It turns out that scams take away all the fun of gaming apps from about 1 in 5 of the 147 million people who play. Mobile app and gaming fraud cost gamers $ 1.6 billion in the first half of 2020, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the vulnerability and restrictions of COVID-19 to perpetrate various types of wire fraud against unsuspecting Americans as they turn to gaming apps for entertainment and entertainment.
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Here are some of the more devious ways that hackers rob you of your money – and, at times, steal your most sensitive personal information – when you’re just trying to have a good time.
# 1 “The crooks in love” slipping into your DMs
The unscrupulous crooks known as love scammers love to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.
Many online games have private chat components, and this is where scammers can contact you under the guise of friendship or romance, gain your trust, claim some sort of financial hardship, and then possibly convince you to fire them. money or even send funds via gift card. They prefer the latter method “because they can get the money fast and remain anonymous” that way, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There have been a disturbing number of people who have lost all of their savings, dribbling down, to romance scams.
“In 2020, reported losses due to romance scams [in general] hit a record $ 304 million, up about 50% from 2019, ”reports the FTC. Criminals can play with your heart (and your bank account) on many platforms, including social media and messaging apps, but online gaming is probably where you least expect them. And that’s how they like it.
If you think someone you talk to on an online gaming platform is trying to rip you off, the FTC suggests the following:
Immediately cut off communication.
Perform a reverse image search of the person’s profile photo to see if it is linked to another person’s name.
Search for that person’s job type with the word “scammer” and see if anyone has reported a familiar sounding scam from that type of worker.
# 2 Thieves and phishers disguised as keepers of cheat codes and gambling tips
We all love a good hack – no, no this kind of hacking. We’re talking about game hacks: the tips, tricks, and “cheat” codes that help us progress and navigate game levels with ease and without. Actually cheating, of course. Avid gamers congregate in online messaging forums to share this type of information, and some malicious actors may see good opportunities to scam ambitious gamers for money or financial information.
These hackers can spam message boards with links or even contact users directly, offering things like cheat codes, boosts, and upgrades in exchange for payment. But once you hand over your dollars or credit card numbers, you never actually receive the goods. However, you notice fraudulent purchases on your cards and realize that you are the one who was cheated. And if you are prompted to click on a link to receive your advice, you might also be downloading dangerous malware onto your device.
Lesson learned: never offer payment to an anonymous person you “meet” online. Instead, take advantage of cheat codes and other cheats that are readily available to the public online for free. And be careful what you click on.
3. Credentials tampers who guess and hijack your username and password
Do you tend to recycle the same usernames and passwords across all of your online accounts? It’s a common but dangerous habit, and experts warn it’s one of the easiest ways for hackers to access these accounts online, including your gaming profile, which contains your payment information. .
Crooks usually gain access to it through a data breach, in which a multitude of usernames and passwords are leaked at the same time. They then use these login combinations on many online platforms to attempt to hijack accounts, capitalizing on the fact that many people are simply reusing the same credentials.
This type of crime is called “identity stuff”. And online entertainment is one of the most common avenues of attack.
To help keep your online games fun and carefree, and reduce the risk of credential jamming attacks, the FTC recommends using long, complex, and unique passwords for everything. If that’s not your strong suit, consider outsourcing the work to a password manager, a computer tool that automates the process of creating, protecting, and storing passwords for you.
Also, always enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible when signing into an online account. And keep tabs on any dark web activity by signing up for alerts (e.g. through a credit monitoring service) that let you know when your information may have been shared on the black market.
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