Now that you know only to buy
games in official stores, it's time to talk about accounts. That's where all
the games you purchase and all the in-game items you acquire are kept. And that
means that your account is a valuable commodity, and not only for you.
Cybercriminals are particularly fond of stealing game accounts. The most common reason is to sell them on, but sometimes they are used to dupe other gamers. For example, by sending messages with links to phishing sites, exploiting the good reputation
of the account's genuine owner. So even if it contains only a couple of games and nothing of great financial value, your account is still of interest to attackers. In any case, most of the time they steal at random.
There is some good news: a stolen account can theoretically be recovered — for this you need to contact the support team of the relevant service. But for every piece of good news, there are always three bad ones. First, recovering your account is
a tortuous process. Second, it might not lead to anything. If the administration has even the slightest doubt that you are the real owner, they will shut the door in your face. For example, if you can't provide sufficient evidence. Third, even
if your account is recovered, your items might not be (which is stated directly in the Steam T&Cs). As Captain Obvious might say, it's better if your account doesn't get hijacked in the first place. For that, you need to do the following.
Let's start with the simple: avoid impulsive actions that help fraudsters pinch your account. First off, don't pay strangers to pimp your account no matter how bored you are of playing beginner levels or how much you want to boost your rating. You
will probably never get it back. They might even demand upfront payment for their "upgrade services."
Nor is it worth sharing your account with people you know. It's not that they are bad, but they themselves might fall victim to an attack through carelessness. Again, you risk being left without your account, and falling out with your online buddies.
you might fall out first, after which they may refuse to hand back your
Buying and selling game accounts is also a no-no. Buying an account might seem like a good deal: you get lots of games for a reasonable price. But where's the guarantee that this account hasn't been stolen from someone else or wasn’t involved in some
miry business? It might get blocked, and you'll have no leg to stand on, since the rules of the platform explicitly prohibit the transfer of accounts. That is, you can never become the legal owner of an account you purchased.
It's a similar story with selling: you might run into a scammer who gives a persuasive reason why they can't pay until you hand over the credentials; whereupon they have a persuasive reason not to pay at all. Or you might get mixed up with a cybercriminal
who, instead of playing, sends phishing messages in your name. And because, as already mentioned, the platform rules prohibit the sale of accounts, the fraud will be pinned on you, since it originated from your account.
To sum up, follow these three simple rules:
- Do not hand over game accounts to either known or unknown users, even for a short while
- Do not buy accounts no matter how profitable the idea may seem
- Do not sell accounts whatever the circumstances
That way, you'll reduce most of the risks straight away. You can also configure your account to better protect both it and the information inside. More about that in the following lessons.
Which of these is safe to do with an account?
Change the account password
or sell an account