When quarantine hit, it was a slight win for introverts who had mastered the art of finding pleasure in their own company. However, extroverts were quick to jump on to the gaming bandwagon — after all, there’s only so much baking and fitness regimes one can do in a day. While gaming has expanded through platforms as well as consoles, the world of scammers expanded to accommodate for the same as well invoking the need for online privacy protection.
What do gamers need to look out for?
When it comes to gaming platforms, Steam tends to come out as most popular when it comes to PC gaming. The reason scammers have latched on to this platform to conduct a majority of their scams is due to the details each user often has attached to their Steam account — including in most cases; financial details.
Often, users are lured away to websites in the hopes of winning cash prizes or customisable ‘skins’. Offering customisable themes or skins for users is often a guaranteed way to gain attention as gamers tend to appreciate these new toys for their platform. In most cases, scammers will spend an ample amount of time setting up a legitimate website to trick users into thinking this is safe.
A pop-up will then ask the user to log in through Steam, which then directly copies over all account information to the scammer. In most cases, this scam goes undetected as users literally hand over their information to the scammers, without having to go through authentication barriers.
SC Media traced this scam to a Twitter thread that began warning users of the same. In some cases, in-game items or entire games were gifted to other people — allegedly making it near impossible to track once they were given away on Steam. This type of scam is also commonly known as phishing scams. They make the need for protecting your privacy online more vital, especially through the COVID-19 era where everyone lives online.
Steam as a platform offers users massive security. However, enabling these security features is up to a user’s discretion. Keeping your software updated is essential too. Steam Guard offers users the ability to have authentication via their mobile phones each time they log in to Steam (especially from a new device). Another tip is to simply stay updated with the Steam Community. If there’s a scam warning up, keep yourself aware and in the loop about things.
If you receive an email giving you a great deal or informing you of a new offer, always double-check the sender. Also, do not directly click on any links within that email, it could lead you down a path filled with malware threats or in general, malicious intent. Just delete and move on, if Steam really wanted to send you offers, they would do so directly through their platform.
What’s your next step?
First, note that being an online gamer means Steam is not the only platform scammers can use to attack you. There are other ways or means through which your online privacy is threatened, and being a smart user on the internet is how you avoid a majority of them. Stay aware, keep yourself educated on the latest updates when it comes to scams, and maintain a level of security on your device through the installation of an antivirus software.
Using a VPN may help, as will the usage of strong passwords to protect your accounts and identity online. Remember, much like the real world, the virtual world consists of similar dangers — tread cautiously and you’ll be just fine.
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys travelling and curating her Spotify playlists.
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