Fraud with Steam credit cards is not a new scam, but people still fall victim to perfidious tricksters who want to enrich themselves through so-called spoofing. The idea is to pretend to be a false identity over the phone – or via email – in order to obtain confidential information. In the case of code card fraud, perpetrators have their sights on codes that have been scratched off, which are given by telephone by fraud victims and redeemed by the perpetrators. Sometimes there is so much damage.   

The police have been tirelessly warning of so-called spoofing for around six years. "Behind this are scammers who use a fake phone number to pretend to be false in order to obtain confidential information and illegally enrich themselves," for example, informed the police in the district of Mettmann in 2015 - at that time the scam was considered new. Years have passed, but the scammers are still successful. 

High damage: Fraud victim should give Steam codes

The scam is always similar: perpetrators make contact, simulate a kind of emergency and thus urge their victims to buy code cards in order to then pass on the scratched codes to the fraudsters by phone or e-mail. Such acts occur again and again in the games industry, among other things because prepaid cards - such as Paysafe, Ukash or Steam codes - are widespread. 

The fraudsters proceed perfidiously: They take advantage of the good faith or the sense of duty of others in order to enrich themselves in this way. A user recently reported a spoofing fraud case in a games forum. The daughter had taken on a new job, due to the Corona crisis everything was done by telephone via video conference. For the fraudsters this was an ideal breeding ground for the scam: the perpetrators pretended to be the boss who was in an important meeting and needed vouchers.

Time pressure on the one hand and the appeal to the sense of duty as a newcomer to the company on the other contributed to the fact that the victim went to the nearest supermarket, bought code cards there and then photographed the credit numbers and sent them to the supposed boss via WhatsApp. Ultimately, there was damage of around 1.000 euros. 

How perfidious the perpetrators are. in this case illustrates the fact that they have meanwhile sent their unsuspecting victim to get supplies in the form of additional credit cards. When the father saw through the fraud, the damage had long been done. 

The police regularly urge caution and advise in such cases:

  • Do not transfer funds based on a phone call
  • Do not share any personal information
  • Be careful when prompting you on the phone
    Transfer money abroad. With that you have next to none
    Chance to get your money back
  • Consistently end the conversation. The caller will be you
    possibly pushing for continuation of the conversation
    want. Don't go into it

Among other things, Google also warns of code card fraud: “If you are asked to use a Google Play gift card to buy items outside of Google Play and to enter the code for payment, there is a chance that you are dealing with a scammer do have."

The group cites two examples to illustrate the scams used by fraudsters:

  • A scammer calls and pretends to be acting on behalf of a government agency, e. B. a tax authority. He claims that you owe him money for taxes, bail payments, debt collection services, or anything else. They are also asked to pay with gift cards to avoid the arrest or attachment of physical items or your personally identifiable information, such as: B. the social security number.
  • A scammer claims to be a relative in trouble or an attorney or other representative of a family member. He pretends to have to pay with gift cards. They may also try to prevent you from contacting the relevant relative to investigate the allegations. Don't believe him. In such cases, never buy gift cards or give out gift card codes.

Even supposedly enlightened gamers who regularly use code cards, are on the Internet every day and repeatedly come into contact with topics such as hacking or online fraud, are not automatically protected from the scams of tricky fraudsters.

Valve also provides information about code card scams on its support page. It says there are "increasing reports of scammers contacting their victims by phone, encouraging them to purchase Steam Gift Cards in order to receive payment for the delivery of sweepstakes funds, or to pay taxes, deposits, or debts Afford". Fraudsters would often pretend to be employees of official agencies or authorities. Victims would then be urged to purchase prepaid cards and submit the scratched codes.

Valve warns: "Please note that Steam Gift Cards can only be activated on Steam. The associated monetary value can only be used to purchase Steam products such as video games, in-game items, software and hardware. If someone asks you to pay using Steam Gift Cards, you've very likely been scammed." More importantly, Valve's subsequent appeal: "Please never give a Steam Gift Card to anyone you don't know."

Victims of such a scam could take action. Anyone who bought a credit card but saw through the fraud early on, i.e. did not pass on the code, can return it to the seller. "They can scan the cards and see if they're eligible for a refund," Steam said. "Normally, Steam Gift Cards that have been activated but not yet redeemed can be refunded by the seller."

If you have sent the codes to the fraudsters, Valve says you should keep the Steam credit cards and receipts and report the case to the local police station.

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