Criminals are Using Fortnite to Launder Money

AlphaAtlas

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Last week, The Independent published a report on how criminals are allegedly using Fortnite to launder money. More specifically, some criminals are using dirty money from stolen credit cards to buy V-bucks in bulk, which they then turn around and sell on 3rd party websites. Given the sheer size of Fortnite's userbase, and the billions of dollars they spend on outfits and other virtual items, that actually sounds like a efficient way to clean money, as the vast pool of (often young) Fortnite players would be more than happy to buy V-bucks on the cheap. The Independent's investigation suggests that this is a large-scale problem, and one investigator said that Epic Games isn't doing enough to mitigate it.

It is unclear how much profit criminals were able to make through money laundering, though Sixgill found that Fortnite items grossed more than $250,000 on eBay in a 60 day period last year. Figures from the firm also show that the number of mentions of Fortnite on the dark web have risen in direct correlation with the game's monthly revenues. One dark web seller seen by The Independent claims to be offering V-Bucks at a discounted rate as a form of charity. "I'm f**king rich as f**k," they wrote in the product's description. "Now it's time to give back to the deep web at a massive discounted rate." The vendor accepts bitcoin and bitcoin cash, two semi-anonymous cryptocurrencies that are difficult for law enforcement agencies to track.
 

vegeta535

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You know how to stop this? Don't have in-game currency in the first place. Make games like they used to be and unlock stuff by gaining achievements...... never understood why they left that model. (besides the obvious greed factor).
This isn't unique to games. I doubt Epic even cares.
 

Tak Ne

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I'd say Epic has done some scummy things but I'm not sure I'd call them criminals. :D
 

scojer

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You know how to stop this? Don't have in-game currency in the first place. Make games like they used to be and unlock stuff by gaining achievements...... never understood why they left that model. (besides the obvious greed factor).

Did you have an epiphany?
 

bsbllclown

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As others have said, this has happened in every game with a currency that can be bought with real money. This shouldn't even be a news story.
 

SomeoneElse

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Did you have an epiphany?
Nope just stating the obvious, the more companies do shit crap the more downstream issues rise up.
You fail business 101
I just want things to go back to where it was fun and challenging to play games not this BS to where I have to pay for a new hat, or new weapon inside a game that I already paid for. I liked it when businesses used to be about satisfying the customer over board members..... Then again i'm old school and not a greedy a$$ hat. Money isn't everything, if it is to you then I feel sorry because there is a lot more to life.
 

Azphira

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Direct sale of items in game instead of a game currency to mask people's purchase habits so they overspend?
 

sfsuphysics

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Meanwhile corporation buys shit in another country and no longer has tax liability and it's called using tax loopholes :D
 

gxp500

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I just want things to go back to where it was fun and challenging to play games not this BS to where I have to pay for a new hat, or new weapon inside a game that I already paid for. I liked it when businesses used to be about satisfying the customer over board members..... Then again i'm old school and not a greedy a$$ hat. Money isn't everything, if it is to you then I feel sorry because there is a lot more to life.
You and me both, but when you work in a public company and the boss wants you to create new revenue streams you do it or they'll find someone who will.
 

mope54

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How does this work? To my knowlwdge you cannot donate Vbucks.
Let's say I owe someone $800K for drug money; I buy $1 million dollars worth of Vbucks with my drug money, give those Vbucks to them for the money owed, they sell them for $800K+ and pocket the money without any trace because the Vbucks de-links the parties anonymously.
 

Tak Ne

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Let's say I owe someone $800K for drug money; I buy $1 million dollars worth of Vbucks with my drug money, give those Vbucks to them for the money owed, they sell them for $800K+ and pocket the money without any trace because the Vbucks de-links the parties anonymously.

Unlikely, I dont think you can give/transfer vbucks or any items bought with them to other players. This just looks like the usual "buy xxxx in-game credits for $yy" done with stolen CC details you see advertised in MMO chats.
 

mope54

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Unlikely, I dont think you can give/transfer vbucks or any items bought with them to other players. This just looks like the usual "buy xxxx in-game credits for $yy" done with stolen CC details you see advertised in MMO chats.
Are you saying that there's no way to sell the vbucks after I buy them? So unless my drug lord has an insatiable appetite for fortnight this scheme won't work?

OK, I read the story and you're right it's just "cleaning" stolen credit card purchases. I thought they were talking about laundering organized drug money. :)

Still begs the question of how they sell the vbucks that were bought with the stolen credit card...unless they make the purchase for a buyer's account after they make the 3rd party sale.
 

Tak Ne

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Are you saying that there's no way to sell the vbucks after I buy them? So unless my drug lord has an insatiable appetite for fortnight this scheme won't work?

To my knowledge there isn't. If the vbuck are on your account then thats it. You could sell accounts with vbucks banked or maybe buy them for others with stolen credit cards etc but I doubt a drug buyer is going to "buy vbucks for 200 different accounts" to the value of the drugs bought. To be honest I've not been into the BR part of Fortnite in a while but all you could do was buy cosmetic items with your vbucks. In PvE mode you can buy & open llamas but you cant sell or give away the contents.
 
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To my knowledge there isn't. If the vbuck are on your account then thats it. You could sell accounts with vbucks banked or maybe buy them for others with stolen credit cards etc but I doubt a drug buyer is going to "buy vbucks for 200 different accounts" to the value of the drugs bought. To be honest I've not been into the BR part of Fortnite in a while but all you could do was buy cosmetic items with your vbucks. In PvE mode you can buy & open llamas but you cant sell or give away the contents.

you severely under estimate what a criminal will and will not do.

rule #1 if there is a way to make an easy buck or obfuscate the money trail when needed.... criminals are gonna criminal.... thats what criminals do.
 

mope54

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hahaha, I mean I know what you're getting at, but there is no money trail if the buck stops at the vbucks store :) No one is going to spread hundreds of thousands of dollars around in virtual currency that can't be pulled back out of the virtual economy. The entire thing hinges on putting the money in and then getting it back out, even if it's a substantially lower amount. But if it goes in and then can't get taken out, it's not laundering...it's just spending :p

Without going into too much detail, I've seen some hilarious "funny money" drug buys.
I think the best that I can talk about would be the kid who came to a door with a bucket of change and funny money (food stamps were still paper in the 90s). He got his baggie of dope, but he had to buy a pizza with his food stamps and roll the coins! The pizza was whatever but the conversation we caught over the coins was hilarious: ("we aint no gdamn bank!," "it's money, b." "ok, make that ***** roll it up and dont be coming around here like that no more"). Then watched as a handful of gangbangers dumped out of the house with about ten pounds in their pockets hanging down past their knees walking to the car!
 

MaZa

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As it stands I have to call this story bogus. Just as I said before and multiple people now confirmed it, V-Bucks are tied to the account and cannot be transferred (I actually tried when I wanted to buy my niece a battle pass couple of weeks back) and only way to move them forward is to sell the whole account. But who is going to buy a level 0 account and start collecting items from nothing again? Hell the items in the shop are randomized daily, who knows how long it takes before your favourite skin is on sale again, if ever for the one of a kind prize skins.
 

Burticus

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How is this different than people using dirty cash at Walmart / BestBuy/Target etc to buy gift cards to resell? Other than online is probably faster
 

zkostik

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You know how to stop this? Don't have in-game currency in the first place. Make games like they used to be and unlock stuff by gaining achievements...... never understood why they left that model. (besides the obvious greed factor).

I highly doubt game devs give a rat's ass about this problem as they rake in cash with this stuff. To be honest, this is nothing new and has been a think with many popular MMO for a long time (was the case with WoW and EQ2 at their peak, back in the day SOE had a real store where you can sell game items for real money which was huge).
 

HockeyJon

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You know how to stop this? Don't have in-game currency in the first place. Make games like they used to be and unlock stuff by gaining achievements...... never understood why they left that model. (besides the obvious greed factor).

Simple. It makes a ton of money. The only way to stop this trend is to not support it.
 

Patton187

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hahaha, I mean I know what you're getting at, but there is no money trail if the buck stops at the vbucks store :) No one is going to spread hundreds of thousands of dollars around in virtual currency that can't be pulled back out of the virtual economy. The entire thing hinges on putting the money in and then getting it back out, even if it's a substantially lower amount. But if it goes in and then can't get taken out, it's not laundering...it's just spending :p

Without going into too much detail, I've seen some hilarious "funny money" drug buys.
I think the best that I can talk about would be the kid who came to a door with a bucket of change and funny money (food stamps were still paper in the 90s). He got his baggie of dope, but he had to buy a pizza with his food stamps and roll the coins! The pizza was whatever but the conversation we caught over the coins was hilarious: ("we aint no gdamn bank!," "it's money, b." "ok, make that ***** roll it up and dont be coming around here like that no more"). Then watched as a handful of gangbangers dumped out of the house with about ten pounds in their pockets hanging down past their knees walking to the car!
Class;)
 

Verge

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You know how to stop this? Don't have in-game currency in the first place. Make games like they used to be and unlock stuff by gaining achievements...... never understood why they left that model. (besides the obvious greed factor).

fortnite is free

How do you propose they make money to pay their developers?




derp
 

SomeoneElse

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fortnite is free

How do you propose they make money to pay their developers?




derp
Don't make the game have in-game currency.....the "buy items with real money" still works. There is no need for in-game currency hence why its so easy for people to launder money through this system....

They can also make money by you know, a purchase of the game. PUBG is purchasable, and it was popular before fortnite.

Also this comment wasn't aimed only at Fortnite, it was meant for the complaining about laundering money for criminal activity. I guess you didn't get that from the OP.
 

MaZa

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Don't make the game have in-game currency.....the "buy items with real money" still works. There is no need for in-game currency hence why its so easy for people to launder money through this system....

They can also make money by you know, a purchase of the game. PUBG is purchasable, and it was popular before fortnite.

Also this comment wasn't aimed only at Fortnite, it was meant for the complaining about laundering money for criminal activity. I guess you didn't get that from the OP.

Again, how does it allow laundering when the ingame currency is tied to your account and cannot be traded or changed back to real money? It is a dead end.
 

Shoganai

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Again, how does it allow laundering when the ingame currency is tied to your account and cannot be traded or changed back to real money? It is a dead end.
They’re either selling the accounts or this article is BS.
 

katanaD

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Again, how does it allow laundering when the ingame currency is tied to your account and cannot be traded or changed back to real money? It is a dead end.


yeah, while i dont play this game. most others i have lately all tie in game currency to THAT account.

so this smells like BS to scare people
 

MaZa

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They’re either selling the accounts or this article is BS.

And for selling accounts, who would buy level 0 account and start buying stuff from a shop which contents are randomized? Who knows how long it takes when your fav skin is on sale again.
 

SomeoneElse

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Again, how does it allow laundering when the ingame currency is tied to your account and cannot be traded or changed back to real money? It is a dead end.
Again, i'm not singling out fornite, my comment was basically pointing out how dumb it is for authorities to complain about "money laundering" (same idea happened with steam and CS:GO), when it comes to in-game money.

End the in-game currency that you buy and you end the problem.
 
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