The FBI has issued a public service announcement (PSA) warning on the utilization of play-to-earn games as part of a scheme to defraud users of funds stored in the form of cryptocurrency. Criminals are introducing victims to this kind of game and then using malware to extract the funds from cryptocurrency wallets linked to the game.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning about the introduction of play-to-earn games in schemes destined to steal funds from unsuspecting users. On March 9, the institution issued a PSA on this, explaining how criminals are luring users to put funds behind play-to-earn games.
Criminals establish a relationship with the selected victims, in order to gain their trust. After this, they lure them to participate in online play-to-earn games, that offer rewards for their actions, and to put funds in a cryptocurrency wallet as a form of staking mechanism.
The rewards advertised are proportional to the number of funds stored in the cryptocurrency wallet, so users are incentivized to put in more funds to get more rewards.
The games show fake rewards growing in their cryptocurrency wallet, and spend more funds to keep growing their rewards. However, when they desire to withdraw these rewards, criminals would drain their wallets of the deposited cryptocurrency, asking for more funds to help recover the stolen crypto, as a last theft against the targeted victim.
In the PSA, the FBI also offers a series of recommendations to avoid being a victim of criminals using this kind of scheme. The first one has to do with segregating funds, as the bureau advises maintaining other funds separated from a gaming wallet, which should be created only for gaming purposes; this minimizes the impact of suffering a wallet drain.
Another recommendation prompts users to check their alleged gains using a third-party block explorer, to verify that these are real and are really being received in the wallet of whatever cryptocurrency is being used.
The final recommendation advises users to check which sites have access to funds in their cryptocurrency wallets, and to revoke these accesses periodically to avoid loss of funds from unknown contracts.
The FBI issued several PSAs last year, including a pig butchering scam warning in December, and another one related to decentralized finance related in August.
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