FBI Warns About Cryptocurrency Theft Scams Using Play-to-Earn Games – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning regarding the use of play-to-earn games in schemes aimed at stealing money from unsuspecting users. The institution issued a public service announcement on March 9 detailing how criminals entice customers to invest money in play-to-earn games.
According to the PSA, in order to acquire the victims’ trust, criminals form relationships with them. Then, they entice individuals to participate in online play-to-earn games that pay incentives for their actions and to place funds in a cryptocurrency wallet as a staking mechanism.
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The advertised benefits are related to the amount of funds saved in the cryptocurrency wallet, thus users are pushed to deposit more funds in order to receive higher prizes. The games display fake incentives rising in their cryptocurrency wallet and spend further funds to keep the rewards growing.
To withdraw these rewards, however, criminals would empty their wallets of the deposited cryptocurrency and request additional cash to assist retrieve the stolen cryptocurrency as a last theft against the victim. In the PSA, the FBI also provides advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of criminals employing this scheme.
The first has to do with separating funds, as the bureau recommends keeping other additional funds separate from a gaming wallet, which should be created solely for gaming reasons; this reduces the impact of a wallet depletion. Further advice instructs users to verify their stated winnings using a third-party block explorer, to ensure that these gains are legitimate and are actually being deposited into the wallet of the used cryptocurrency.
The final recommendation urges users to frequently verify which websites have access to their cryptocurrency wallet funds and to cancel these accesses to prevent loss of funds via unknown contracts. This year, the FBI published a number of public service announcements, including one regarding a pig butchering scam in December and another regarding decentralized finance in August.