With an increasing number of daily gamers, the usability of online platforms and gaming communities has increased. Steam is one of the popular gaming marketplaces where you can purchase any third-party game or discuss your favourite gaming components. While you play games, several in-gaming items can be purchased in exchange for real money. A platform like Steam, not only protects your in-gaming items but also provides you with a safer way to trade your items with other gamers over the internet. If you are a beginner, it may take a lot of time to understand how trading works. With an increasing playing time of popular titles, the release of new games, and the introduction of first-time players, has created rapid onboarding. The scammers usually target newcomers and try to mislead them into fraud.

A newcomer's experience in the world of Gaming

This is the story of Sahil Zaman, who was a beginner in the world of online gaming. Back in 2017, when he was new to CSGo and several other popular games, an unknown person sent him a WinRAR file image of a karambit in the Steam community. Being a newcomer, he normally downloaded it and opened it. After few minutes, Sahil was sure that the person was trying to scam him. So he just ignored and continued to play his game. After few minutes, he experienced unusual behavior on his computer. The game he was playing kept on closing in every 5 minutes. At last, a notification came up on Steam that someone was trying to hack his account, so a third party software called Valve's Escrow System was taking his in-gaming items(skins) as a safety measure and will return them to him after resetting everything. Sahil was barely into the gaming world for 2-3 months. He claimed to have in-gaming items(skins) of around INR 600-620, (20-30 skins, each of all guns). Later on, he understood that the WinRAR file was infected and that the escrow system was nothing but a scam and he lost his valuable in-gaming items. Since then, Sahil became afraid of this "escrow" word.

What is a digital escrow?

Digital Escrow is the use of a third party account, during a transaction, which holds the money deposited by the person who is purchasing any product/service until the seller fulfills the terms of the agreement. The transacting parties are supervised by the escrow company.

1. Make sure to check the company website and verify the CIN, the payment gateway they're using and the names of banks they're associated with.

2. Make sure to check the play store and app store ratings and reviews.

3. Perform a demo transaction of a smaller amount before trading with a large sum of money.

How can you save yourself from fraud while playing games online?

1. Avoid clicking on suspicious links while playing online games.

2. In case of purchasing any in-game items, make sure to do the transaction through a digital escrow system like Vouch, where you can easily get a refund in case of any fraud. 

3. Make sure to verify the trader's details from a gaming expert (community) before buying/selling in-game items.

4. Avoid clicking on rewarding programs offered by external ads while playing any online games.

How does Digital Escrow save you from online frauds in India?

Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for buyers and sellers to build trust and secure a clean transfer of product and payment. Buyers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated in a timely manner, and buyers will feel confident that their order will be delivered as expected and on schedule. If you ever come across a fraudster asking for OTP, asking you to scan a QR code, or asking you to click on phishing links, you can simply say no and ask him/her to proceed with the transaction through Vouch.

Vouch Digital Escrow uses a non-interest-bearing escrow account for all transactions in India and keeps you updated and informed at every step of the transaction process till the end. Vouch’s professionals are always available to assist you with all queries that you may have during the entire transaction process. There is no scope for deceit or fraud since the payments, shipping, delivery, and execution are carried out under the honest and watchful eyes of the Vouch’s professionals. With Vouch, any business transaction becomes transparent, uncomplicated, and hassle-free.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is Fraud Story #40. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. It's about having control of your money till you've delivered the product or service you contracted to! 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at letstalk@iamvouched.com