If you have children who love to game you are no doubt very aware of Epic Games' uber popular game Fortnite. You've also no doubt had to deal with your kids asking to use their allowance, birthday or chore money to buy 'V-Bucks', the in-game currency of Fortnite that allows users to buy cool new 'skins' or outfits for their characters as well as limited edition battle passes.
Thanks to Fortnite's constantly growing popularity it has also become the target of many online scams directed at your kids. Security firm ZeroFox recently conducted as study and reported receiving over 50,000 alerts related to Fortnite scams over a one month period! It's important for parents to know these scams are out there and to talk to their kids about responsible gaming and how to avoid being taken advantage of online.
ZeroFox notes that while Fortnite is a free game to play, it makes most of it's money, estimated at almost $300 million a month, from in-game purchases using V-Bucks. Even though your child may only be asking for $10 here or $24.99 there to purchase a new skin or battle pass, it's clear those numbers are quickly adding up! It's also clear that the majority of scams targetted at Fortnite players tend to involve V-Bucks and how a player can get them for 'free' or at a lesser cost. Your child needs to know that the only place they can buy or earn genuine V-Bucks is through the game itself, regardless of how many Instagram accounts or fake websites offering discounts they find online.
Scammers are also using fake V-Buck generators to get personal information from your children, which can sometimes include credit card numbers and your address. These V-Buck generators are hosted on fake sites that ask for information like your Fortnite username and password before asking them to take a survey to verify they are human. These surveys often ask for personal information such as address, contact information and even credit card info.
ZeroFox warns of fake websites that look like they're official, only they've been created by scammers. These websites encourage users to share their site with friends to earn more V-Bucks while asking for personal information as well. The security firm found '4,770 live domains related to these kinds of scams,' and more keep popping up every day.
V-Buck scams are also happening on YouTube where your child will be told to 'like' and 'share' a video that will earn them free V-Bucks after they fill out a form providing personal information. These videos are mining data and often distributing malware. Social media sites like Instagram are hugely popular places for scammers to post links to Fortnite scam websites.
To avoid yourself and your child becoming the unsuspecting victims of Fortnite scammers, make sure you let your child know exactly what these people are doing to try to scam them. Talk openly and often about personal security and that they should never divulge personal information online. Reassure them that the only place to purchase V-Bucks is through their gaming system, and to have a parent present when doing so to ensure what they are purchasing is legitimate. Smart Parenting suggests warning your children to be cautious when filling out online quizzes or registration pages and to double check the URL's and domains they're visiting to ensure they're not scammer sites.