Po­lice warn­ing over fraud­sters tar­get­ing chil­dren on Fort­nite

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews -

FRAUD­STERS are tar­get­ing chil­dren who play the mas­sively pop­u­lar on­line video game Fort­nite.

Cheshire Po­lice are back­ing a warn­ing aimed at par­ents of young gamers.

Scam­mers have been of­fer­ing the lure of free Vbucks – the vir­tual cur­rency used to pay for ad­dons within the game – as a way of ac­cess­ing peo­ple’s ac­counts.

A po­lice spokesper­son said: “Do you or your kids play Fort­nite? Be­ware of fraud­sters of­fer­ing free Vbucks. They will seek ac­cess to your ac­count and cre­ate charges or may ask for your phone num­ber and sign you up to pre­mium rate sub­scrip­tions. Be care­ful with your per­sonal data.”

Ac­tion Fraud re­ceived 35 re­ports of Fort­nite re­lated fraud, with a to­tal loss off £5,119 or an av­er­age of £146 per vic­tim, in the last fi­nan­cial year.

In the same pe­riod, Ac­tion Fraud re­ceived 37 re­ports of fraud re­lat­ing to Steam Cards – gam­ing gift cards – with a to­tal loss of £44,455.98, an av­er­age of £123.88 per vic­tim.

Ac­tion Fraud has seen re­ports, made mainly by par­ents on be­half of chil­dren, of fraud­sters tak­ing ad­van­tage of Fort­nite gamers.

In most re­ports, the gamer has seen an ad­vert on so­cial me­dia which claims that by fol­low­ing a link and en­ter­ing in­for­ma­tion, they will re­ceive free Vbucks. Fraud­sters then ask the vic­tim for in­for­ma­tion about their ac­count which al­lows them to log in and cre­ate fraud­u­lent charges.

Fraud­sters are tar­get­ing vic­tims in many other ways. Th­ese in­clude ask- ing for peo­ple’s phone num­bers in re­turn for Vbucks to then sign the vic­tim up to a pre­mium rate sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, sell­ing ac­cess to other peo­ple’s Fort­nite ac­counts, and of­fer­ing VBucks for free then ac­tu­ally charg­ing for it.

Ac­tion Fraud has seen a spike in fraud­sters re­quest­ing gamers to buy Steam Cards as a way to gain up­front fees from vic­tims.

Vic­tims are be­ing called by fraud­sters, claim­ing to be from well-known or­gan­i­sa­tions. The vic­tims are in­structed to pur­chase Steam Cards in or­der to pay for the pro­cess­ing of tax re­funds or re­bates, PPI re­funds, ad­min­is­tra­tive costs for pro­cess­ing loans and for pro­vid­ing an­tivirus soft­ware.

As with iTunes gift cards, the fraud­ster doesn’t re­quire the phys­i­cal Steam Card to re­deem the value. In­stead, the vic­tim is asked to read out the se­rial code on the back over the phone.

Direc­tor of Ac­tion Fraud Pauline Smith said: “It is vi­tal both par­ents and those play­ing games are able to spot signs of fraud, as fraud­sters will go ● to great lengths to try to steal your money.

“It is also im­por­tant par­ents make their chil­dren aware of the threat.

“If you are down­load­ing or pur­chas­ing game ad­dons, make sure you use the of­fi­cial web­site.

“You should never re­veal your pass­word or bank­ing de­tails to some­one you don’t know, or be tempted to click on un­known links.

Any­one who has been a vic­tim of fraud or cy­ber crime can re­port it on­line – www.ac­tion­fraud.po­lice. uk/re­port_fraud – or by call­ing 0300 123 2040.

Fort­nite is a pop­u­lar on­line video game

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