May 13, 2020
Carson City, NV
– Nevada Attorney
General Aaron D. Ford is advising Nevadans of all ages to be safe while playing
games online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Nevadans may be looking for
ways to have fun indoors but are encouraged to be cautious and exercise
judgment while playing any online games.
“Games are a fun way to pass the time at home and socialize virtually,
but they can also be a conduit for cybercriminals,” said AG Ford. “While playing your favorite game, keep in mind
that real criminals are eager to access your personal and financial
As with other online platforms, scammers may use online games to steal
players’ identities or financial account information. They may use a variety of
tactics to obtain this information from unsuspecting gamers.
One common method is through phishing, in which scammers send an email or
direct message with a fake link designed to trick users. The message may appear
to be from the game or some other legitimate source. Once clicked, the link may
appear to be the game’s log-in page, prompting users to enter their username
and password. Because many games are linked to users’ credit or bank accounts,
scammers can use this information to make purchases or steal users’ virtual
credits. The hyperlinks may also download malware designed to take over users’
accounts on various gaming platforms or consoles. The platforms and consoles
may contain information such as a user’s full name, physical address, phone
number and credit or debit card information.
Scammers may also direct gamers to third-party websites where they can
buy add-ons, such as outfits, weapons or new abilities, or purchase a way to
generate online currency for use in the game.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 to the users’ devices. These sites
look like legitimate sites and trick users into completing transactions for
purchases they will never receive. Many of the 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. In the end, these webpages are fake, and the users never see the items
or currency they expected or thought they had purchased.
Attackers may also target gamers’ IP addresses, which is a unique Internet
location for each user. Once the attacker has your IP address, he or she may be
able to discover your physical address, full name and other information
AG Ford urges all users to be vigilant and follow these tips to avoid online
- Only use official websites for any
purchases related to the game. Do not click on links that redirect you to
- Never respond to an email or direct
message request asking for your banking, financial, or personal
information, even if it appears to be from the gaming platform. Legitimate
companies do not ask for information via messaging;
- 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
- Avoid using debit cards for purchases.
Credit cards offer greater security protections and are not linked to an
account with finite money; and
- Protect your device’s IP address by
updating your router and firewall rules to prevent unauthorized access.
You may also consider purchasing a virtual private network, known as a VPN.
A VPN protects your data through encryption and directing your online
traffic through a separate server, making it appear as though you are
connecting to the Internet from elsewhere.
Users who believe
they have been victimized by an online game scam are encouraged to submit a
detailed report on the game’s support page and contact their credit or debit card
company to dispute charges.