Criminals use Fortnite to launder money

With billions of players and a diverse audience spanning the globe, Fortnite attracts gamers from all walks of life. While most are there to simply play the game and have fun, others are using Fortnite for more nefarious purposes. Fortnite creator Epic Games has long cautioned players to be wary of scams involving V-Bucks, the title’s in-game currency. However, a new report recently released by security firm Sixgill and The Independent confirms that Fortnite’s V-Bucks are being used in large scale criminal money laundering operations.

Criminals are using stolen credit cards to buy Fortnite’s V-Bucks

Money laundering happens when criminals take money made from illegal activities and feed it through legitimate enterprises or businesses, making it more difficult to track by authorities. In this specific case, criminals are using stolen credit cards to purchase V-Bucks, which are then resold online and through the dark web. This gives the criminals “clean” money which is then much more difficult to track.

fortnite gumshoe
Image courtesy Epic Games

Sixgill agents posed as potential customers to uncover the global scam, which is being conducted in languages ranging from English to Arabic to Russian. Often, the scams will be advertised on social media sites like Twitter or Instagram. The scams in question often accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for payment, making their illicit revenues still more difficult to track.

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Though Sixgill was unable to calculate an exact number, Epic made $3 billion in profit last year, so it stands to reason that criminals profiting off of Fortnite’s system are also making a windfall. Epic Games has not officially commented on the situation, but Sixgill analyst Benjamin Preminger was quite clear in his criticisms of Epic. Preminger stated, “Epic Games doesn’t seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise.”

This isn’t the first time Epic has found itself in hot water, with scandals involving major security flaws and plagiarism making headlines last year. Preminger suggests that there is much more Epic could be doing to crack down on criminal activity, including monitoring high-value transactions and sharing data with law enforcement agencies.

As always, Epic is adamant that the only safe and secure way to purchase V-Bucks is through official channels, such as the Item Shop or on storefronts such as the PlayStation Store. Players should continue to purchase V-Bucks through these sources to avoid unknowingly exposing themselves to scams or other criminal activity.

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