Stay away from crypto “Play-to-Earn” games, US Agency flags theft risk

Play-to-Earn games attract people who want to make a quick buck, and the distressed Indian public has recently seen rapid bombardment of such online or game apps. Crypto business too is involved in such payout games. The FBI in the US has recently shared a note warning about the risk of theft while falling victim to such games and their promises.

In a short note titled “Criminals Steal Cryptocurrency through Play-to-Earn Games”, the FBI warns about fake rewards being used as a lure by some crypto gaming apps, followed by theft. The note mentions theft of crypto worth millions.

Says the note: “To participate in the game, criminals direct victims to create a cryptocurrency wallet, purchase cryptocurrency, and join a specific game app. The more money victims store in their wallet, the more rewards they will purportedly earn in the game. Victims play the game and see fake rewards accumulating in the app. When victims stop depositing funds into the wallet, criminals drain victim wallets using a malicious program [that] victims unknowingly activated upon joining the game. Criminals tell victims they may reclaim funds by paying additional taxes or fees, but victims are unable to get their money back even if they pay the extra fees.”

Tips for protection shared the communique:

“If you wish to participate in cryptocurrency-based gaming, create a unique wallet to use. This isolates your primary cryptocurrency holdings should you unknowingly grant illicit actors access to your gaming wallet.

Use a third-party blockchain explorer to independently check the balances of the addresses in your gaming wallet.”

“Periodically use a third-party token allowance checker to help you see which sites or apps you have inadvertently permitted to access funds in your wallet and revoke those permissions.”

Of late, Indian consumers have been vulnerable to online or payment app related scams, given the use of advanced tools for phishing or vishing. Crypto scams related to investment with promises of high returns have also been reported. A typical method is to convince the victim to deposit some money so as to get funds released or withdrawn. The gaming app fraud also uses a similar approach, when victims are told to pay some fees so as to be able to withdraw their rewards.


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