A new report has revealed that Fortnite’s in-game currency is being used to launder money from stolen credit cards.
According to a report by The Independent and cybersecurity firm Sixgill, a hacker will access someone else’s credit card information, and then use it to create a Fortnite account and buy V-bucks, which is the game’s currency. Once the account fills up with V-bucks, it is then sold through a legitimate vendor like eBay, or on the dark web, for lower rates that the $10 for 1,000 gamers will get in the game or through an authorized online store.
With more than 200 million players worldwide, Fortnite has generated $3 billion profit in 2018 for the game’s developer, Epic Games. During its investigation, Sixgill discovered that $250,000 of Fortnite items were sold on eBay in the last 60 days, with operations being conducted around the globe in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and English.
“Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity,” said Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill.
In addition, separate research by IT security firm ZeroFOX found 53,000 occurrences of online scams related to Fortnite between early September and early October of last year. And an estimated 86 percent of the scams were shared via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Security experts have warned that Epic Games is simply not doing enough to prevent illegal activity and protect its users on the platform.
“Epic Games doesn’t seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise,” Preminger said. “While completely stopping such criminal activity is extremely difficult, several steps could be taken to mitigate the phenomenon, including monitoring the transfer of high-value goods in the game, identifying players with large stockpiles of V-bucks, and sharing data with relevant law enforcement agencies.”