You sit down to play a game or two after a long day, and BOOM – you are locked out of your account. Someone changed your credentials since the last time you played. How could this have happened?
Despite the rigorous controls platforms like Steam and Epic do all the time, hackers and scammers still find creative ways to get to gamers’ accounts.
Let’s talk about how you can avoid these issues as a gamer.
1. Phishing Targets Gamers Too
Phishing, also known as false representation to get information, is still at large, even among gamers. A scammer will spoof a company’s email and send it to you. Usually, these emails will ask you to reset your password or simply log in to “confirm your identity”. Once you enter your credentials into the fake website, it may already be too late.
Remember – no official company representative will ever ask you for your credentials. And, if an offer sounds too good to be true for that “bonus chest if you log in”, it probably is.
2. Cheats and Trainer Apps
Thankfully, this is a dying trend that still earned its place on the list thanks to how easy it is to execute. Cheat and trainer apps are used to make any game bend to your will. However, it’s not necessarily bad to use cheats. A lot of people enjoy breaking the game, especially if it’s a sandbox one. You can get hours of fun content using cheats.
However, cheat engines and trainers almost never come from the developers of the game themselves.
So, a hacker can stuff the cheat app with anything they desire, including data-stealing malware.
3. 3rd Party Apps
As a gamer, especially in the MOBA subgenre, you want all the competitive advantage you can get. Sometimes this advantage comes in the form of 3rd party apps that can show stats, damage done, map timers, etc.
Again, this software is rarely provided by the game devs, so you’ll have to navigate through the murky waters of 3rd party software.
Similarly to cheat engines and trainer apps, 3rd party apps can easily be infected with malware. You most likely won’t even know it in the beginning. And if a 3rd party app is working as intended, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s malware-free.
4. Trading Scams
Being that more and more games come with tradable digital collectibles, trading scams are bound to happen.
In most cases, these scams revolve around the scammer insisting on trading outside the platform the game is on. If this happens, consider it a red flag. Even though PayPal is a legit service, along with a dozen similar ones, there are still legal scams that can be pulled through it.
The scammer will try to buy some digital goods from you for an agreed-upon price. Then they will ask to trade over PayPal or some similar system. The trade may go just fine, but that’s when the scam kicks in. The perpetrator can refund the money through a transaction-reversal appeal. This way, you’ll be left with no money and no digital goods either.
So, What Can You Do About It?
The best thing to focus on when it comes to gaming fraud is prevention.
Here’s a quick list of the things you can do right now to boost your online (and offline) security as a gamer:
- Practice strong password etiquette – never reuse old passwords, and create complex new phrases.
- Use 2-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Use a VPN – by encrypting your connection, an online VPN connection will protect you from all sorts of issues.
- Always trade your gaming goods through official platforms so you’re protected from refund scammers.
- Stay on top of your game and update your OS, drivers, and anti-malware software regularly.
Stay Safe Out There!
Gamers from all over the world get scammed virtually every day, and we should all learn from them. As long as you stay proactive and level up your cybersecurity, you’ll have almost nothing to worry about.
Update your system, use a VPN and a 2FA, don’t trade outside the official app, and never give out your credentials, even if the CEO of EA asks.