Pokemon Go Scams: How They Work
(with video below) In a very short time, Pokemon Go has become one of the most downloaded game apps in history of gaming and mobile apps. Needless to say, scammers are banking on people’s naivety and are making thousands of victims in the Pokemon Go community. You may be one of them without even knowing. Here there are five crazy scams that you could be a victim of. How do they work?
Watch the video below to see these scary Pokemon scams exposed:
Pokemon Go Scam #1: Unofficial Pokemon Go Apps
The most common danger when it comes to this popular game is the unofficial Pokemon Go apps. These have names similar to the original — such as Pokemon Go Ultimate or Install Pokemongo — and they have been downloaded extensively. With the real Pokemon Go being available only in just a few countries, fans all over the world are looking for ways to download the app and catch Pokemons.
In the code located within these fake apps, scammers implemented a remote access location as Pokemon Go. Once installed, the app looks legitimate with Pokemon Go login screen but ends up giving complete access to your phone. So make sure to avoid downloading Pokemon Go variants from third-party sources and if you are from a country where the app wasn’t launched yet, just wait for the official release.
Pokemon Go Scam #2: Free PokeCoins
As you probably know, Pokemon Go is a free app, but the company that made the app —Niantic— makes money when users spend real money to buy a virtual currency called PokeCoins. Pokemon Go players can spend PokeCoins on items such as eggs to hatch rare Pokemon or incense to lure Pokemon to their location.
In this scam, crooks have created surveys offering free PokeCoins. Once the user clicks on the scam site, they are asked for their Pokemon Go username and the amount of coins they want.
These scam sites then require Pokemon Go users to go through a verification process, which includes completing a survey form, installing few applications or signing up for additional services. While user data doesn’t seem to be getting compromised here, the scammers do benefit via an affiliate program.
In a different variation of the Free PokeCoins scam, cybercriminals created and launched malicious mobile apps, such as Guide and Cheats For Pokemon Go, which installs automatically malware on your phone. Although this particular app was reported and removed already from the store, many other similar apps can pop up offering you cheat tips.
Pokemon Go Scam #3. Cheating Strategies
Scam #2 and this one go hand in hand. Just like in every other popular game, many players want to take the easy way out to reach their goals. And that means cheating. Pokemon Go users have been found spoofing GPS location data, sticking their mobile device to toy trains, dogs, ceiling fans or even drones to trick the app to think the user is moving. The punishment from the makers of the app is hour-long bans, but that’s not the danger we are talking about.
The danger is when the cybercriminals offer you –via third parties that look legitimate– GPS spoofing tools and with remote location trojans programs to gain control to your device.
Pokemon Go Scam #4: Pay For Upgrade
An email is still circulating all over the world and looks very official, supposedly being from the Niantic Labs offices. The email, meaning the scammers, is announcing that Pokemon Go will begin to charge $12.99 a month to use the full version. The content reads: “We regret to inform you that due to the overwhelming response to our new Pokémon Go app and the need for more powerful servers we can no longer afford to keep your account as free”.
The scam email comes from a domain not associated with Niantic Labs. Links in the email don’t point to Google’s or Apple’s app stores, but third-party servers. And users who do click through aren’t offered any paid software, but instead asked to authenticate in an attempt to steal credentials from major email providers.
The email also informs you that Nintendo would “freeze accounts in 24 hours if users do not upgrade through the app store.”. Rest assured; this is a scam, and you do not have to do it.
Pokemon Go Scam #5: Permissions and Privacy
This is more like a scare, not a scam, although many consider it that way. Since the day of its launch, Niantic has been the subject of a privacy scare. The initial app permissions page suggested Pokemon Go getting full access to Google accounts.
However, Niantic stated it had access to only basic information and has updated the app since then. Therefore, install the updated version of Pokemon Go app, which removes the request for full access to Google account and update your smartphone’s firmware to prevent fraudulent attacks.
Pokemon Go Scams: How To Report
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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