As Fortnite's popularity has exploded, so has the rise of scammers who promise free V-Bucks.
V-Bucks are Fortnite's premium currency. You buy them with real world money, then use the V-Bucks to buy aesthetic items, such as avatar outfits.
There are a huge number of videos on YouTube claiming to reveal the secret to nabbing free V-Bucks (a search for free V-Bucks returned 341,000 results). Some of these are pre-recorded videos set to repeat continuously - with thousands watching live. Most want you to visit a certain website or download a certain app. Some will manually show how easy it is to get free V-Bucks - pop your Fornite username into a website, decide how many V-Bucks you want and - magically! - they appear in-game, ready to spend.
Clearly, Fortnite scams are big business, and so Fortnite developer Epic is putting in work to warn the game's community against falling into the trap of visiting a free V-Bucks website.
In a tweet to the official Fortnite twitter account's 3.94 million followers, Epic said:
Say NO to scams!— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) May 25, 2018
Beware of scam sites offering free or discounted V-Bucks. The only official websites for Fortnite are https://t.co/8CxczhrZwk and https://t.co/zxorPaoiJb.
For more information of Account Security: https://t.co/oF57QdfDLH pic.twitter.com/5oTKougmuq
Epic says it's seen several instances of account theft and fraud relating to websites that offer free V-Bucks.
"There's no such thing as a free V-Buck," reads the Fortnite account security bulletin.
"We've seen the sites online, just like you. Click here, put in your username, maybe answer a survey question or two, and you'll get as many free V-Bucks as you'd like. Those sites aren't real. They want you to enter your account credentials into their page (enabling them to log in as you and create fraudulent charges) or else encourage you to click down a chain of advertising referrals, getting click-through advertising money for the person running the site. Under no circumstances are those sites able to actually grant V-Bucks. Our legal team is constantly prowling to hunt down those sites.
"If you've tried one of them in the past, we encourage you to change your password as soon as possible."
Epic faces an uphill battle against scammers, who have identified Fortnite as a game with an enormous, mainstream and young playerbase who may not necessarily spot a scam before it's too late.
In the meantime, if you've ever popped your username into one of these free V-Bucks websites, it's probably worth giving Have I Been Pwned a visit. There you can search your email address and see if it has been part of any data breaches. If it has, change your password.
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