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Rising Tide of Fraud Threatens Online Gaming Communities

The video game market is valued at $365 billion, and it is continuously growing.
UPDATED MAR 20, 2024
Cover Image Source: Gaming Scams | Pexels | Photo by Yan Krukau
Cover Image Source: Gaming Scams | Pexels | Photo by Yan Krukau

Today, online gaming has transcended mere entertainment to become a global phenomenon. With close to 40% of the world's population immersed in video games, the industry's growth trajectory is nothing short of remarkable, poised to reach a staggering worth of over 250 billion USD by 2025. However, this surge in popularity has brought a dark side — the proliferation of fraud targeting gaming platforms.

Pexels | Photo by Yan Krukau
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Yan Krukau

As gamers invest countless hours building up their characters and advancing through levels, their accounts have become prime targets for fraudsters, presenting various challenges for players and gaming companies alike.

Account Takeover (ATO) Fraud

Gaming accounts are treasure troves for fraudsters, housing valuable in-game assets ranging from virtual currency to coveted character skins. ATO fraud involves illicit access to these accounts, often achieved through stolen credentials or phishing schemes.

Sift's Q3 2023 Digital Safety and Trust Index reveals a staggering 354% surge in Account Takeover (ATO) attacks compared to the previous year. According to the research, nearly one-fifth (18%) of respondents fell victim to ATO attacks, with 62% of incidents occurring within the past year alone. Shockingly, over 34% of victims experienced fraud multiple times. 

Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Slejven Djurakovic
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Slejven Djurakovic

In this scheme, fraudsters exploit compromised accounts to make unauthorized purchases, disrupt gameplay, and even resell hijacked accounts for profit. This results in financial losses and tarnishes the gaming experience, prompting genuine players to abandon the platform.

Fake Accounts

The proliferation of fake accounts created en masse using bots and emulators poses a significant threat to online gaming communities. Fraudsters deploy these fake identities to infiltrate gaming tournaments, skewing competition outcomes and eroding player trust.

Moreover, fake accounts serve as conduits for fraudulent transactions, facilitating illicit in-app purchases using stolen credit card information.

Image Source: Pexels/
cottonbro studio
Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro Studio

"Fraudsters disguise themselves as legitimate gaming platforms or users and send emails claiming to offer exclusive gaming benefits. They entice gamers to provide personal information, such as login credentials or financial details, which are then used for malicious purposes," a government official said.


Botting entails the use of automated programs to perform repetitive tasks within games, such as leveling up characters or accumulating virtual assets. These bots operate tirelessly, giving fraudsters an unfair advantage by amassing resources at an accelerated pace.

Consequently, genuine players are left at a disadvantage, contending with an uneven playing field that detracts from the overall gaming experience.

People often regret their impulsive purchase behavior. Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Karolina Grabowska
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

"Gamers should prioritize account security by using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and avoiding suspicious links or downloads," the authorities advised.

To safeguard the immersive gaming experience and protect the investments of both players and developers, collaborative efforts are imperative. Enhanced security measures, such as robust anti-fraud technologies, must be implemented alongside educational campaigns to raise awareness among users. Furthermore, fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and vigilance within gaming communities is essential for detecting and combatting fraudulent schemes effectively.