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FTC Warns Gamers of Online Phishing Scams


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of USA has in public advisory warned online gamers of a string of phishing email campaigns that are currently targeting them, as per news published by softpedia.com on October 30, 2015.

The success of the online gaming micro-market has caught the attention of online criminals who are using traditional phishing email notifications but aimed at taking benefits of minute insecurities particular to gaming enthusiasts.

The FTC elaborates: Usually, gaming enthusiasts will get an email notification that emulates the real ones, notifications that are sent out by the online gaming parent company on a standard basis.

These phishing notifications warn gamers of a legal action or an imminent fine, outlining breaking of user agreements, generally accusing them of unlawfully trading game assets or characters in exchange for real money.

If the victim decides to confirm his account status or challenge the suspension of his account, the email instructs him to click on a link and complete a 'verification' page, the FTC said.

But, this is actually their modus-operandi...entrapping prospective victims into handling up anything from their email addresses and contact numbers to their financial details, the FTC said.

Online gaming giants have been regularly cautioning users about such scam emails. Blizzard Entertainment that owns popular games like World of Warcraft (WoW) and Diablo III, in September 2015 cautioned players of widespread scams and highlighted some tips to mitigate such scams.

The data stolen with the aid of phishing emails is harvested by scammers, and either employed to access their victim's gaming profile, other additional accounts (if password is the same), or make spurious purchases (if financial information has been cropped).

Blizzard Entertainment stressed that these phishing emails had some simple red flags and hence highlighted some simple tips to mitigate such phishing campaign. They include: firstly, do not click on links enclosed within the scam email, like in the aforementioned email that asks you to click on a URL and then go forward to completing a page that verifies your details. Secondly, if you think that the email is in fact legitimate, hunt for the real contact details of the company and get in touch with them directly.

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