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Criminals are laundering money through kids playing Fortnite

By Cal Jeffrey · 6 replies
Jan 23, 2019
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  1. According to an investigative report by the Independent, criminals are laundering money through the wildly popular video game Fortnite. Using a technique called “carding,” crooks will purchase in-game cosmetics and packages of V-bucks with stolen credit card details, then sell them at a discount through social media, eBay, or on the dark web.

    Cybersecurity firm Sixgill says there is a thriving black market for discounted Fortnite gear and in-game currency. Part of this illicit economy is due to younger players with less disposable income wanting stuff on the cheap. However, the fact that the game has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions per month makes it a prime target for money laundering schemes.

    “Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity,” said Sixgill’s Senior Intelligence Analyst Benjamin Preminger.

    Another reason the carders like Fortnite is because Epic does not monitor odd bulk transactions or forbid the selling of items outside the game.

    “Threat actors [a malicious person or entity] are scoffing at Epic Games’ weak security measures, saying that the company doesn’t seem to care about players defrauding the system and purchasing discounted V-bucks… This directly touches on the ability of threat actors to launder money through the game.”

    Fortnite’s players (including the criminals) moved more than $3 billion worth of transactions through the game last year. How much of this money was from illicit sales is unknown, but Sixgill monitored eBay for 60 days and found that over $250,000 in Fortnite items or accounts were sold through the auction site.

    The Independent found one seller on the dark web who claimed to be rich and just wanted to give back to the dark web community by “giving away” V-bucks at steep discounts. Of course, there is no way of knowing how the individual acquired these V-bucks, and since he only accepts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, his transactions are almost impossible for law enforcement to track.

    To make matters worse, Epic has no measures in place to discover or report suspicious transactions.

    “Epic Games doesn’t seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise,” said Preminger. “While completely stopping such criminal activity is extremely difficult, several steps could be taken to mitigate the phenomenon, including monitoring the transfer of high-value goods in the game, identifying players with large stockpiles of V-bucks, and sharing data with relevant law enforcement agencies.”

    Epic Games was unavailable for comment on tis report.

    Permalink to story.

  2. The title IMO seems misleading.
    mbrowne5061 and MaXtor like this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,662   +2,418

    TS has been getting kinda bad about this lately.
  4. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,710   +413

    Not sure how it's misleading. It's pretty much exactly what the Independent and Sixgill was reporting.

    Head of the Independent: "How children playing Fortnite are helping to fuel organised crime"
  5. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,178   +648

    Just because their title is misleading too doesn't make it a good one either.
  6. English language is becoming (perhaps always been) a very loose language in the sense that unless one is extremely careful, many sentences can be taken in more than one way.
    I am fine with the headline, but I can see how someone can read it and think that somehow kids are contacted by criminals and laundering money for them thru the game, maybe someone else can read something else into it that doesn't occur to me by virtue of their previous experience and current views
    edit: of course as soon as you read the article you get the context
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  7. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,510   +1,511

    And where's the evidence that it's solely through kids? There isn't any... hence the misleading title allegation...
    Yes, kids make up a large percentage of the players - but I'd wager that the illegally bought/sold accounts are probably more likely to be from older players, with more disposable income to buy in-game stuff....

    Of course, this is hardly news as criminals have been doing this with virtually every popular video game that allows in-game transactions for years... You can purchase accounts/items to virtually anything on the Dark Web (or ebay) - from Fortnite to Clash of Clans...

    A more appropriate title perhaps: "Criminals are laundering their money via Fortnite and other video games" --> not as flashy though... hence the click-bait title used above instead....

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