Epic's battle royale game Fortnite used to launder money
Criminals are using a technique called carding to buy and sell Fortnite accounts using stolen credit cards
As the massively popular video game Fortnite grew in reach, so did its potential for illegal activity: according to a Variety report, some of the game's 200 million users are using stolen credit cards to launder money.
Cyber criminals carried out their illicit activity by using the Epic Games' title to create a Fortnite account and use the stolen card credentials to purchase V-Bucks (the game's currency) and in-game items such as skins. From there, they sell on the account, loaded with stockpiled items, on eBay or even the dark web for a fraction of what it's actually worth, effectively laundering the stolen money.
For example, an account full of 500 worth of virtual items might be sold online for 100. The seller will often ask for money through services like PayPal, and, once they have received payment, will send the login information for the account to the buyer.
Because Fortnite does not have the capability to exchange items individually, players are resorting to purchasing one of these laundered accounts.
This phenomenon isn't unique to Fortnite, however. It's called carding, and it occurs when someone uses a stolen credit card to purchase items in a game and then resells those items at a lower price.
However, Fortnite's popularity across a wide range of demographics and penchant for limited-time or special items make it particularly vulnerable to carding. Buying and selling accounts violate the game's end-user license, which means Epic Games can remove such accounts from the game when they're reported.
Tracking down laundered accounts can be difficult, though, because of how prominent they've become. According to a report from SixGill, a cyber intelligence firm cited in the Variety article, the top 50 Fortnite-related items listed on eBay brought in around $250,000 in the 60 days prior to the report.
The most effective way for Fortnite to put an end to its money laundering problem might be to pay attention to what the criminals seem to be facilitating and playing to players' desires: easier access to virtual item trading. Allowing players to freely gift items could eliminate the demand for stacked accounts.
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