Money Laundering in Fortnite?
People are always looking for opportunities to make a quick buck, and thanks to the ever-advancing world of tech, it doesn’t always take that much effort. Even major games like Fortnite aren’t safe from these behaviors.
It seems like Fortnite made it big overnight. With 125 million active players using the game, it’s one of the biggest and most widely talked about games out there right now. That’s not to say that it has been all positive. Any gaming community this size is going to have some bad eggs and bad press. It’s all a matter of how they handle things.
Fortnite is a game that allows for in-game purchases. Fans from both the casual and competitive side of things flock to purchase the rare and exclusive items. Unfortunately, it’s this exact sales model that has caught the attention of cybercriminals.
Money Laundering in the Gaming World
It turns out that laundering money through a game that allows for in-game purchases isn’t as hard as you expect. Well, minus having to find stolen credit card information. But we’re talking about cyber criminals here, they’ve been there, done that.
First, somebody starts out with a free account. Then they buy up as many exclusive and limited time items as possible with said stolen card. Once that’s complete, they simply hop onto a site such as eBay and sell the newly blinged out account. Usually, they’ll sell these accounts for a fraction of the money that went into them—thus tempting people to snatch them up quickly. This allows the cybercriminal to walk away with real cash.
This trick is so common that it even has a name: Carding. And it’s not something that Fortnite suffers through alone. Almost any major gaming company out there has faced this threat.
Of course, Fortnite has rules against buying and selling user accounts, but that’s always been something that’s been difficult to track and control. It’s likely that Fortnite is frantically working on finding a better solution to this problem, but in the meantime, they’re asking people to be aware and to follow the rules (i.e., don’t buy other accounts off of eBay and other sites).
Why Does it Work?
The problem is that Fortnite attracts so many different people, from all ages and backgrounds. This gives cybercriminals even more opportunities to take advantage of. While one community may be well aware of what to look out for and avoid, it’s unlikely that all of them are that savvy.
The other problem that is accelerating this issue is the sheer number of limited time items available in the game. It’s creating a frenzy of fans and is, in its own way, actively encouraging people to buy accounts with the items they want.
And finally, cryptocurrency began hitting its peak right around the same time as Fortnite. That’s exceptionally unfortunate timing for the game, for fairly obvious reasons. Now there’s one more currency involved in the game, and one that’s harder to track, to boot.