Better Business Bureau (BBB) has cautioned that the advent of thousands of online games has increased the risk of children being exposed to online scammers or bullies.
Tyler Andrew, President and CEO of BBB, said,
We especially want children and their parents to understand the dangers of online gaming.
With thousands of games available on apps, it becomes impossible for parents to monitor the games their children are playing. Scammers can target children being the most vulnerable group through these games in different ways.
One of the most common ways is to lure children by offering free in-game currency in exchange for personal information like email id, password, etc. In reality, there are no digital coins at stake, and the scammers get users’ information and use it to access information about those related to the user like friends and family.
Many games can be played online by multiple players. These players can chat with each other to form common strategies in the game. These chats can be used by unscrupulous elements to either bully children, hurl abuses at them though controls are possible overuse of foul words. In extreme cases, children can be lured to social media like Facebook, Skype, etc.
Another way of scamming is to direct children to a link which downloads an executable program .exe to their computer. This program then takes complete control of the user’s computer. The scammer can now remotely operate the user’s computer and can also access the user’s personal information, even conduct transactions in the user’s name without his knowledge.
To protect against the dangers mentioned above parents should talk to their kids about the kind of games they are playing, any free currency being offered, whether the game allows chatting and if it does who he chats with to ensure the child does not fall prey to scammers or online predators and bullies.
In general, everyone should follow some guidelines to ensure their personal information is not compromised. It includes not clicking on any in-game advertisements, changing passwords often, and not share information with anyone with whom we have just online contact.
As online gaming continues to grow, it becomes necessary to put in place safeguards to protect children from unscrupulous elements.