CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -- Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is advising Nevadans to be wary of scams that prey upon users of the popular online game “Fortnite.”
Users may play “Fortnite” online across multiple gaming and computer platforms where the objective is to be the last player standing in this survival game that pits users against zombie-like creatures.
The game is rated as suitable for children age 12 and over, but its mass popularity has unwittingly attracted scammers who trick young and experienced users alike into disclosing their personal and identifying data or their parents’ credit card and billing information.
“Scammers use clever ads to take advantage of unsuspecting people caught up in the game,” says Attorney General Aaron Ford.
“These ads look like the real thing, and players may not realize they’ve been scammed until it’s too late. I encourage users to be vigilant while playing this and any online games.”
Although users may play Fortnite for free, the game reportedly generated approximately $2.4 billion in revenue in 2018 by monetizing its virtual currency, “V-Bucks.”
Players use V-Bucks to purchase game upgrades such as characters, outfits, weapons or in-game dance options, which have been the subject of viral sensations. Users can earn the currency by completing game achievements, or they may purchase V-Bucks with real-world funds. V-Bucks are not necessary to play Fortnite; however, the most common Fortnite scams involve offers of free or discounted V-Bucks.
Users are baited by links to “V-Bucks generator” sites that seemingly promise codes or coupons for free V-Bucks at the very real expense of personal data or credit card billing information.
Some of the sites deploy clever tricks to encourage users to click ads that may generate ad click revenue for the scammers or download malware (harmful software or a virus) to the users’ devices.
The generator sites mimic the look of legitimate sites and trick users into completing transactions for purchases they will never receive. Many of the generator sites redirect users from one social network to another.
Often, the links lead to a website requiring users to share a code from their personal game account, which then grants scammers access to payment information and to the user’s gaming devices. Sometimes these sites send follow-up or authentication emails to maintain the appearance of legitimacy, but in reality, the emails and links are phishing attempts.
In the end, the V-Bucks generator webpages are fake, and the users never see the free V-Bucks they expected or thought they had purchased.
Young users are particularly vulnerable to requests to submit personal and identifying data or credit card and billing information. AG Ford urges Fortnite users and parents alike to be vigilant and to use the below tips to avoid being scammed:
Do not click on links that redirect you to third-party websites. Never use V-Buck generators; the only legitimate way to get free V-Bucks is in-game. Do not share personal information, identifying data or account information online. Use a strong password for the game login and two-factor authentication when available. Do not share login credentials with friends, and avoid using debit cards for purchases. Credit cards offer greater security protections and are not linked to an account with finite money.
Users who believe they have been victimized by a Fortnite scam are encouraged to submit a detailed report on the Fortnite support page and contact their credit card company to dispute charges.