Pokemon Go is seemingly all the rage since it’s release this week, but beware – there is a great risk in spending all your time with this game and losing track of your surroundings in the process. There have been reports of robberies in the St. Louis area, reports of two men falling off a cliff while playing the game, reports of a player coming across a dead body, and now, from our friends at the NC Department of Justice, concerns over Pokemon Go scams. From the alert email I received today:
WANT TO CATCH ‘EM ALL? HAVE FUN BUT AVOID POKÉMON GO SCAMS
The new mobile game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of excited new users, but unfortunately scammers aren’t far behind. A new scam is out to trick Pokémon Go users into giving up their personal information and paying money to play the game that’s actually free. If you’re trying to catch ‘em all, make sure you know how to avoid Pokémon Go subscription scams.
The scam begins with a phony email claiming that because of a record-breaking number of users, game developer Niantic has begun charging players $12.99 per month to play Pokémon Go. The email claims that anyone who doesn’t pay the upgrade fee immediately will have their game accounts frozen within one day. Concerned users who click the upgrade link are asked to provide their email login credentials, giving the scammers access to information in their email accounts that can be used for identity theft.
- Don’t be fooled by logos, websites, or links that seem like the real thing. Many scam emails use real company’s logos to seem authentic. Past phishing emails have claimed to come from major companies like Paypal, eBay, banks, credit card companies, non-profits, charities, and even government agencies like the IRS.
- Report phony emails to the legitimate business directly. Contact the company using a telephone number or web address you know to be right, not using the contact information in the phishing email. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never share your personal or financial information by email. Be wary of any email that asks you to key in login credentials to one of your personal email or financial accounts. Instead, use legitimate, secure login websites to access your accounts, not links included in questionable emails.
- If you receive one of these phony emails, report it to the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or online at ncdoj.gov.
This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
The point of all of this is to remind you that you need to make sure that you are aware of your surroundings, make sure that you are not falling into some sort of scam, and you need to make sure that you use good old common sense when playing games like this and others. Remember, there are a lot of different apps out there that track location, Pokemon Go is not the first by any stretch, so just be thoughtful when playing these games. Have fun, but don’t do something that could end up getting yourself or someone else hurt.