‘Fortnite’ has become a money laundering paradise


via nypost

The virtual currency used by millions of gamers who play “Fortnite” has become popular with money laundering cybercriminals, according to reports.

Money launderers use stolen credit cards to purchase V-bucks – which players use to purchase weapons, outfits and other items in the wildly popular game – from the “Fortnite” store and then resell them on the dark web.

Agents with the cybersecurity firm Sixgill posed as customers and uncovered operations being conducted globally in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and English.

“Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity,” said Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill.

“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,” he continued.

The Independent noted one example of a seller who accepted bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash as payment who claimed to be selling at a discount and wanted “to give back to the deep web at a massive discounted rate.”

Epic Games, the North Carolina-based developer of “Fortnite,” told the Hollywood Reporter it takes the money laundering claims seriously.

“Epic Games takes these issues seriously, as chargebacks and fraud put our players and our business at risk,” a company spokesperson said. “As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by turning on two-factor authentication, not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.”

Some security experts have said the company isn’t doing enough to monitor how its products are being used.

“Epic Games doesn’t seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise,” Preminger said, adding that “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 did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment early Friday regarding the accusations of illegal activity on its platforms.

The immensely popular game is free to download and play and has around 200 million players worldwide. It has generated upwards of $3 billion in revenue, the Reporter said.

Between September and October, IT security firm Zerofox found 53,000 instances of online scams related to the video game.

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That gaming platforms can be (and are) used for money laundering is something that money laundering experts have been warning about for some time.

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I play Fortnite all the time, and yet have never encountered this. In fact, I’m not even sure how it would work, as the in game currency “v-bucks” are not transferable, redeemable, etc. They serve one purpose, and that’s to acquire player/weapon skins.

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Nathan, skins are things of value and as such, if transferred to someone else (yes, you may have said that they are non transferrable) can be used in the same manner as transferring fiat from one party to an other.

Of course I do not know the technicalities of the platform. I’m sure people are actively trying to break it and other platforms all of the time. The money laundering experts are more aware of what is going on there.

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This is the part that eludes me though: skins are not transferable once purchased. Either way clearly it’s being done some how. I’m simply oblivious to it. :joy:

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After creating a free account, the launderer uses these credit cards to purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency (V-Bucks) as well as skins and other digital items, and then sells the account’s login details via eBay, other third-party auction services, and even the dark web.

While these people may be selling accounts for less than what they’re worth, the process still turns stolen credit cards into legitimate money via purchases conducted through services such as PayPal.

The technique itself is known as ‘carding’ and isn’t necessarily unique to Fortnite, but the immense popularity of the game and its associated digital purchases makes it a prime vessel for the technique.

The difficulty in policing this issue is that many users selling their accounts on third-party markets like eBay are doing so legitimately, having obtained the digital items and currency in licit ways.

So until Fortnite integrates an official trading storefront that removes the need to purchase entire accounts – something Epic Games, the developer, has trialled recently – it will be near-impossible to differentiate the compromised accounts from those that are above board.

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“… and then sells the account’s login details via eBay, other third-party auction services, and even the dark web.”

Thanks for providing an explanation of how “carding” works.

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I knew this would happen. Just like it did with wow

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Thanks for clarifying!

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This is why EPIC stresses account security such as 2FA. When I wasn’t playing for a while, there were multiple attempts to hack my EPIC games account by different people.

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In which case, I hope someone doesn’t hack my account. It’s an absolute gold mine with my one and only skin. :rofl:

Actually, I hope someone does, and then I can reset my damn K/D (which is probably horrendous).

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