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No More Cheats: Gaming Industry Combats Fraud To Protect Sanctity (And Profits) Of The Game


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For the gaming industry, fighting fraud is about protecting the sanctity of the game, building brand loyalty, improving customer experience and maximizing profits. Fraud follows the money, and the gaming industry’s prolific growth has attracted a wide range of fraudsters both large and small. According to Newzoo’s annual Global Games Market Report, the company predicted that gamers would generate $108.9 billion in game revenues for 2017 across multiple device types and segments. It also estimated that of the 2.2 billion active gamers in the world, nearly half (47%) spend money while playing.

The online gaming industry deals with low-cost transactions that need to be approved in real time so as not to interfere with the gaming experience. This near-instantaneous analysis of the transaction means reviewing billions of data points of current and past transactions behind the scenes to not only protect the consumer but also protect the integrity of the game, the gaming company and the industry as a whole.

Whether it’s taking over accounts, hacking games, stealing credentials or developing bots to exploit games, fraudsters are continually looking to identify weaknesses in the online gaming industry to generate profits. Scott Adams, former director of fraud and risk management at Riot Games, can attest to these challenges. (Full disclosure: Riot Games is a Kount customer.) In his role, Scott was tasked with reducing fraud for millions of people who play League of Legends worldwide, focusing on payment processing to create a seamless experience for the gamer. He worked with the ecosystem of the fraud industry to ensure the company stayed ahead of its fight against card-not-present (CNP) fraud. With some insight from Scott, here are some of the top fraud schemes that are unique to the gaming industry:

Account Takeover And Synthetic IDs

In this scenario, fraudsters target accounts with advanced capabilities, special strengths or powers, or large amounts of game currency and then "sell" those accounts over and over to unsuspecting, legitimate players. Account takeovers typically result in the majority of the players not receiving their purchases and a black eye for the individual game.

Spoof Sites

Another means of obtaining the information necessary for payment fraud or account takeover is the creation of spoof sites that collect user data from unsuspecting visitors. Unfortunately for all involved but the fraudsters, these spoof sites can look exactly like the sites they mimic. A site that is spoofed might have a URL that is just one letter off from the correct one, making it difficult for trusting users to detect. The player unknowingly inserts their login credentials to the fake site, which are then sold on the dark web or used on the real site to take over legitimate player accounts.

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