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If you’re a gamer, you know how important virtual currency is. It allows you to purchase new costumes and weapons to personalize your avatar. But how does one go about gaining virtual currency? Players complete in-game challenges and are rewarded with coins to spend in their virtual world. These challenges can be pretty difficult and time-consuming to complete. As a result, many players look to various websites as an easier way to download more gaming currency. Unfortunately, malicious actors are taking advantage of this trend to scam gamers into downloading malware or PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).

There are a variety of techniques scammers use to trick players into utilizing their malicious sites. The first is fake chat rooms. Scammers will set up seemingly legitimate chat rooms where users can post comments or ask questions. What users don’t know is that a bot is actually answering their inquiries automatically. Scammers also ask these victims for “human interaction” by prompting them to enter their personal information via surveys to complete the currency download. What’s more – the message will show a countdown to create a sense of urgency for the user.

These scammers also use additional techniques to make their sites believable, including fake Facebook comments and “live” recent activity updates. The comments and recent activity shown are actually hard-coded into the scam site, giving the appearance that other players are receiving free gaming currency.

These tactics, along with a handful of others, encourage gamers to use the scam sites so cybercriminals can distribute their malicious PUPs or malware. So, with such deceptive sites existing around the internet, the next question is – what can players do to protect themselves from these scammers? Check out the following tips to avoid this cyberthreat:

  • Exercise caution when clicking on links. If a site for virtual currency is asking you to enter your username, password, or financial information, chances are the website is untrustworthy. Remember, when in doubt, always err on the side of caution and avoid giving your information to a site you’re not 100% sure of.
  • Put the chat room to the test. To determine if a chat site is fake, ask the same question a few times. If you notice the same response, it is likely a phony website.
  • Do a Google search of the Facebook comments. An easy way to check if the Facebook comments that appear on a site are legitimate is to copy and paste them into Google. If you see a lot of similar websites come up with the same comments in the description, this is a good indication that it is a scam site.
  • Use security software to surf the web safely. Products like McAfee WebAdvisor can help block gamers from accessing the malicious sites mentioned in this blog.

And, as always, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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