FBI Warns of Cryptocurrency Scam Through Fake Play-to-Earn Games

In recent years, cryptocurrencies have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional currencies, with many investors and individuals alike using these digital assets for various transactions.

However, with the rise of cryptocurrencies, there has also been a rise in the number of cybercriminals looking to steal these assets. The latest scheme involves criminals stealing cryptocurrency through play-to-earn games, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning the public to be vigilant.

According to the FBI, criminals are creating fake gaming applications that advertise play-to-earn games offering financial incentives to players. These games are designed to lure victims into participating and investing in them.

The criminals first build a relationship with the victim, then introduce them to an online or mobile game where players can purportedly earn cryptocurrency rewards in exchange for some activity, such as growing “crops” on an animated farm.

To participate in the game, the criminals direct victims to create a cryptocurrency wallet, purchase cryptocurrency, and join a specific game app. The more money victims store in their wallet, the more rewards they will supposedly earn in the game. Victims play the game and see fake rewards accumulating in the app. However, when victims stop depositing funds into the wallet, the criminals drain victim wallets using a malicious program victims unknowingly activated upon joining the game.

The criminals then tell victims they can reclaim their funds by paying additional taxes or fees, but victims are unable to get their money back even if they pay the extra fees. This is a classic scam that criminals have used for years in various forms, and they are now using it to steal cryptocurrency from unsuspecting victims.

The FBI advises anyone who wishes to participate in cryptocurrency-based gaming to create a unique wallet to use. This will isolate your primary cryptocurrency holdings, should you unknowingly grant illicit actors access to your gaming wallet. They also recommend using a third-party blockchain explorer to independently check the balances of the addresses in your wallet and revoke those permissions.

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