Swindle royale: Fortnite scammers get busy

Fortnite is still one of the most played games in the world, with more than 350 million fans as of May 2020. Such a gathering cannot fail to attract parasites, however, so gamers need to beware.

If you encounter one of these typical scamming tricks, run away!

V-Bucks

Fortnite is free to play, but players can spend real money on V-Bucks, its virtual currency, which users trade for skins and stickers. Most Fortnite scams are built around V-Bucks.

Players looking to save some money are easy marks for cybercriminals offering virtual currency either free or at least from sites other than the official store. The tactics differ from scheme to scheme, but the outcome is the same.

V-Bucks generators

One of the most common scams involves V-Buck generators, which promise to pay users in-game currency in exchange for spending some time clicking on ads. To entice users, some websites offering V-Bucks for clicks copy Fortnite‘s style — right down to the fonts — and display “Secure” and “Epic Games Approved” stamps. Not all is as it seems, of course.

In general, the cash-per-click model, although workable, does not lead to tangible rewards and is associated with some risk. For example, instead of getting paid, participants might be slipped malware that appears to be a partner app supposedly needed to register the clicks. The same goes for V-Bucks-for-clicks schemes. What’s more, among the fake pages are some that request the user’s Epic Games account credentials.

As a result, those looking to earn V-Bucks will at best waste time watching endless ads, and at worst supply their data to cybercriminals (which is likely to lead to account hacking).

You don’t have to test V-Buck generators for authenticity; enthusiasts are already there. A YouTuber named spllitz, for example, researched some of the most popular V-Bucks freebie sites and put together a guided tour. Spoiler: They’re all fake.

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The first generator directed the vlogger to a survey. The second, with an alluring “Pro” in the name, displayed banner ads offering items for instant sale. The third served up more surveys, like the first. Ultimately, spllitz got no V-Bucks. Run away.

Fake V-Bucks stores

Likewise, the Web is full of sites claiming to sell V-Bucks. At first glance, such pages might look legitimate; like generators, they often resemble the Epic Games portal, and their URLs frequently contain the word Fortnite.

Some of them even have security certificates, but all that means is that they use an encrypted HTTPS connection, so outside parties cannot intercept user data. It does not, however, protect the data from the website owners, or mean that the owners are bona fide.

If you decide to buy virtual currency on such a resource and enter payment card details, they will fall into the hands of cybercriminals.

The story’s ending is nothing if not predictable: Your money will likely vanish, and the V-Bucks will fail to materialize. The scheme is fairly common. In 2018 alone, for example, ZeroFOX identified more than 4,700 fraudulent domains related to V-Bucks and used to harvest personal information, including payment details.

Fortnite scams on YouTube

In an effort to pass off their scams as legitimate commerce, cybercriminals distribute links to their websites through social media posts and YouTube videos. In them, fake reviewers gush about how

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