For all its faults, 2020 has been a great year for gaming. Plenty of incredible games have launched, with even more on the way. Unfortunately, there have also been plenty of game scams, which will most likely grow, too.
Scams are a fact of life that gamers will have to deal with as long as games are profitable. Even experienced players can fall for these sometimes, so keep an eye out. Here are five recent scams to avoid.
1. YouTube Gaming Cheats
YouTube walkthroughs and tips are some of gamers’ most helpful resources. They’re also hotspots for gaming scams. One study found that YouTube Gaming viewers watched at least 39 million hours of questionable content in one month.
These videos show convincing footage of gamers using hacks and cheats to exploit a game. They’ll then provide a link to a site where viewers can supposedly download a mod or learn how to do the same thing. Once you’re there, though, these sites install malware or ask for your information to rob you.
2. “FIFA 21” Gold Pack Scams
Any time a pay-to-win game like “FIFA” comes out, it gives scammers a perfect target. “FIFA 21’s Ultimate Team” card packs help you improve your team, but there are many phony deals out there. Scammers will offer gold packs and other items at low prices but won’t give you anything for your money.
Whenever you see a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just remember never to buy any in-game items from anywhere other than the game itself.
3. Phony “Animal Crossing” Sales
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is easily one of the best Nintendo games to come out in a while. Its endless hours of gameplay are perfect for quarantine, but sometimes you want a faster way to get specific villagers or items. Scammers have recognized this need, too, leading to “Animal Crossing” game scams.
You can find dozens of online forums where people trade and sell items and villagers. Avoid any paid ones, though, because you likely won’t get anything in return. Like with “FIFA” gold packs, scammers will offer you an empty deal and take your money.
4. Fake “Fall Guys” Mobile Versions
“Fall Guys” is one of the latest in a series of games that took 2020 by storm. It’s fun, simple and doesn’t demand any fancy hardware specs, making it ideal for mobile. The only problem is there’s no official mobile version yet, but there are plenty of fake ones.
Links to supposed “Fall Guys” mobile versions are all scams that will install malware on your device or ask for your information. “Fall Guys’” developer has even called these scams out on Twitter since they’ve gotten so rampant.
5. Beta Testing Scams
2020 still has some exciting releases in store, like “Cyberpunk 2077” and next-gen consoles. If you see anything offering early access to these, though, be careful. It’s almost definitely a scam.
Scammers have put up fake ads for PS5 and “Cyberpunk” beta testers. Once you enter your information, you won’t hear any more from them. They’ll use it to hack accounts or steal money, and you won’t get a PS5 in return.
Stay Safe From These Game Scams
Once you know what to look for, these scams are relatively easy to spot. Always double-check to make sure info comes from an official source, and don’t trust deals that seem too good to be true. When you know to avoid these scams, you can game on without fear.