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Technology experts warn gamers about scammers

Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-16 08:59:00-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hackers and scammers have been taking advantage of the excitement surrounding HBO’s new adaption of the popular video game franchise The Last of Us. 

Alyssa Hinojosa is one gamer who plays frequently on her personal computer. 

“I have played Pac-man, Galaga, MarioKart,” Hinojosa said. 

Hinojosa knows about the types of scams out there targeting gamers. That’s why she knows to use protective software. 

"We traditionally like to stick with a reliable source, like STEAM we're heavily involved with. The majority of our games come from STEAM,” Hinojosa said. 

By using steam. Hinojosa and her friends can avoid online scams. VPN, a website covering all aspects of online privacy, cybersecurity and internet freedom is aware of two scams.

The first uses a website to offer “The Last of Us Part II” for download. Anyone who attempts to download this fake game will get malware on their device. 

Then they have access to steal sensitive data. TAMUCC Assistant Professor of Media Arts, James Fleury tells us this is happening as more people watch HBO’s the Last of Us. 

“They’re now seeing they can get this digitally without having to drive to the local Game Stop or Target. Now they’re trying to download it and they’re running into this exact situation,” said Fleury.

Cybercriminals are also using phishing scams to get payment data.

That's done through a website that offers a fake activation code for The Last of Us on Playstation. 

To receive the code and the gift, users must pay a commission fee by entering their credentials and credit card data. Victims of this scam are left with nothing in return. 

Hinojosa said if this were to happen. She knows she can turn to resources on campus at TAMUCC.

“He can give me resources to where I can look at reliable sources or how to tell when it isn’t versus when they are," Hinojosa said.

The best way to stay ahead of such scams is to exercise caution and only download video games from official sources and trusted websites. If you come across any deals that seem too good to be true, do a quick Google search to check out their legitimacy. Cybercriminals can also target gamers outside gaming platforms and forums, using malware disguised as legitimate software, so fans should be aware of this.

It is also recommended to activate two-factor authentication and use unique, secure passwords for all your online accounts. Also, keep your operating systems and apps updated.