Pretty much anyone who interacts online is a potential target of fraud — and that includes gamers.
Kaspersky Lab Daily has taken a look at how cybercriminals operate on the online gaming platform Steam (while noting that players on others, such as Origin and Battle.net, are not immune to such activity) — where they tend to go after new gamers, as well as ones unfamiliar with cybersecurity — highlighting a few methods that online gamers should be on the lookout for, as well as actions they can take to better protect themselves.
Steam and other online gaming platforms, the outlet explains, are not immune to the tried-and-true fraudster method of phishing. On Steam, for example, cybercriminals will commonly contact a gamer (under false, game-related pretenses) via private message. If they can dupe a user into clicking on a link, the fraudsters can gain access to his or her account information.
Kaspersky shares that, to combat phishing scams on Steam, Valve Corporation (the company behind Steam) has created the Steam Guard, which requires two-factor authentication for gamers on the platform.
Another method that fraudsters on Steam use, the story continues, is to set traps off of the platform — such as articles and YouTube videos — promising Steam users access to in-game benefits, such as cheat codes. Here, again, a gamer is required to click on a link to reveal the information, and if she does so, this can result in having her Steam account compromised or falling victim to malicious ransomware.
To protect against the off-platform trap method, Kaspersky recommends — beyond diligence — that gamers install a reliable security solution on their gaming devices.
A third method of fraud prevalent on Steam, states the outlet, is to scam legitimate gamers out of money and their items sold through the platform by purchasing the latter with electronic currency, such as PayPal or WebMoney. Following the transaction, the fraudster will play the role of victim, asserting to the Steam support team that they were had. This maneuver, explains Kaspersky, commonly leads to the support team believing the fraudster’s story and awarding him the money and the item, leaving the actual victim with neither.
The simple solution for that type of fraud, says Kaspersky, is for gamers to never engage in transactions outside of the Steam trade window.
Two more methods of fraud on the Steam platform that the Kaspersky story describes are instances where fraudsters pose either as friends of gamers and request money or as Steam employees and accuse gamers of fraud and try to compel them to give over game items.
In both of those cases, Kaspersky recommends that a gamer never trust either attempt. There are ways to confirm that people posing as friends are actual friends (or not); Valve Corporation has an established policy of its employees never asking gamers to share items with another — so that scam, at least, is an easy one to spot.