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An extensive money laundering scheme has been uncovered using Fortnite V-bucks. The massively popular online game has also gained popularity among criminals using stolen credit card information, Fortnite, and cryptocurrencies. The Fortnite V-bucks money laundering scheme appears to be a worldwide problem and one that Epic Games is not dealing with.
The Independent along with cybersecurity firm Sixgill unveiled the wide-reaching money laundering scheme. Criminals are using stolen credit card information to purchase Fortnite V-bucks, and are then selling those V-bucks at discounted rates. These discounted V-bucks are largely sold in bulk on the dark web, but some are sold through platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Cybersecurity firm Sixgill had agents pose as potential customers, who then found similar Fortnite V-buck money laundering schemes being conducted around the globe. The firm found operations being run in Arabic, Chinese, English, and Russian.
Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill, said, “criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity. Threat actors 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.”
While it remains unclear exactly how much money criminals have been able to make through Fortnite, over $250,000 were grossed in Fortnite items on eBay in a two-month period last year. Figures from Sixgill also show an increase in the number of mentions of the game on the dark web, in direct correlation with the game’s revenue.
Most discounted Fortnite V-bucks sellers accept forms of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin and bitcoin cash. The semi-anonymous cryptocurrencies make it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to track.
IT security firm Zerofox found over 50,000 online scams related to Fortnite in a one-month period between September and October 2018. The vast majority of those scams were shared through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Epic Games has not commented on the Fortnite V-bucks money laundering scheme. Security experts, such as Sixgill’s Preminger, don’t believe the company is doing enough to mitigate illegal activities through the game.
Epic Games made over $3 billion from Fortnite last year, pushing the company to new heights. Epic recently launched an online game store that promises a better profit split between it and developers. While the company is making record profits, it earned an ‘F’ rating from the Better Business Bureau largely due to the company’s customer service.