BRITS could be unwittingly funding organised crime gangs on a daily basis, according to a leading criminologist.
Buying V-bucks to spend on new Fortnite skins, downloading unlicensed copies of movies or TV shows all generate cash for the “black economy”, with much of that cash either going directly to criminal gangs, according to a report from the BBC.
A recent report revealed that more than 180,000 villains linked to serious organised crime are laying siege to Britain.
According to the National Crime Agency it is “the deadliest threat facing the nation”.
Director general Lynne Owens claims that it kills more people “than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined,” and also costs British families up to £2,000 a year each.
And it appears that young people might be unwittingly fuelling that cost.
Criminologist Dr Anna Sergi told the BBC that while young people are “way more advanced” when it comes to operating online than older people, they are more at risk.
While older people might be wary of risky situations online, younger people often aren’t, Dr Sergi says.
The explosion of social media and social games like Fortnite means that “younger generations don’t flag them as risks because you can talk to anyone at any point in your day.”
“The lack of understanding around how downloading a movie or buying anything counterfeit – like a bag – is the effects are miniscule tears in the ocean, but they all amount to a massive loss to the economy.”
HOW TO BEAT THE GANGS
HOW can you stay safe from these scams? Follow these simple tips:
- Never share your account details with anyone else
- Never try to purchase V-Bucks from anywhere other than an official Fortnite website
- Don’t be tempted by offers, cheats, hacks or discounts from non-official websites
- Never enter your credit or debit card information for Fortnite items on a non-official site
- You’ll never be asked for your password through email, social media or a non-Epic website
- Never share or buy Fortnite accounts
- Remember: Free V-Bucks don’t exist – so you’ll never be able to get them without paying
- Verify your email address on your Fortnite account
- Set up two-factor authentication in your security settings to boost security
NCA chief Lynne Owens warns that the scale of organised crime in Britain ‘is truly staggering’[/caption]
Scammers often charge for V-bucks using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which makes them very hard to track down and also makes it much easier to get cash from stolen cards without getting caught.
Eager gamers and movie fans have also been warned that sites that host pirated movies and offer deals on V-Bucks will host ads that can directly fund organised crime groups and host malware that enriches them too.
If that malware infects your computer then you could find yourself on the other end of the scam, with your card details being used to buy the very V-Bucks that are being flogged on the cheap.
The NCA’s annual threat assessment revealed that younger IT-savvy crooks’ increasing use of the dark web and cryptocurrencies was part of the reason an extra £2.7billion was needed in the next three years to fight crime with the NCA itself needing another £650million.
Brits need to be more aware of the risks, Dr Sergi says.
“Organised crime happens to everyone everywhere. It’s not about poverty, it’s not about corrupted places elsewhere. It’s about us here.”
MOST READ IN GAMING
Police have warned about the risks of fraudsters making thousands off the back of Fortnite, with people losing hundreds of pounds each.
It is easy enough to stay safe though – follow this guide and you’ll not only keep yourself safe, you’ll also ensure you’re not funding gangs.
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