Eager gamers fooled with promise of freebies

One of the world’s largest game developers – Valve – recently launched the latest version of its famed “Counter Strike” gaming series, and to coincide with this, at least one company is promising free copies of the game. Sadly, though, not everything is as it seems.

The new game – Counter Strike: Global Offensive – pits gamers against each other in a never-ending terrorist versus counter-terrorist game, with updated graphics, gameplay modes, leader boards, and more.

To say that Counter Strike is popular would be an understatement; it’s one of the most played team-based games since it was released in 1999, and a new title in the series is bound to grab a lot of attention in the gaming community.

That seems to be exactly what’s happened, with the game – which normally costs roughly $15 – allowing scammers and con-artists to target fans with the offer of free licenses to the game on a website.

Representative from internet security company BitDefender told GadgetGuy this week that “the website that is advertising the keys is only a redirector to other, secondary websites” and “the collected information is often relevant for targeted phishing”.

Any information entered by a gamer on these scam-sites can be used to help break into an identity, with passwords – many of which will be shared between accounts – as well as security hints for password recoveries being collected, making it possible for a scammer to steal your information.

“These harvested e-mail addresses can also be used for highly-targeted spam – free serial key offerings – that will be used as bait for further campaigns,” said the BitDefender representative.

“These websites are highly dynamic, they can easily change campaigns to require even more information, and, depending on what is collected at a specific time, and also depending on the region the user is in. It can also lead to identity theft, provided that the user discloses enough information about himself.”

It’s probably worth pointing out that there’s very little in the world that’s truly for free, and if any company is offering you a free copy to a game, you should ask what the catch is before plonking down your details and hoping for the best.