Criminals are buying V-Bucks from the official Fortnite store using stolen credit card information. The V-Bucks are then sold in online black markets at discounted rates to “clean” the money, according to an investigation by The Independent and research by cybersecurity firm Sixgill.
The discounted V-Bucks may be found for sale on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, but most of the money laundering happens on the dark web, which is a part of the internet that may only be accessed through special software. This is where a lot of illegal activity takes place, and apparently, money laundering through Fortnite‘s V-Bucks is now part of the list.
Sixgill agents discovered the money laundering operation by pretending to be interested customers who are looking to unlock Fortnite items on the cheap.
“Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the free v bucks generator system with relative impunity,” Sixgill senior intelligence analyst Benjamin Preminger told The Independent. The criminals are said to be “scoffing” at the weak security measures implemented by Epic Games, going so far as saying that the developer “doesn’t seem to care” about fraud in Fortnite.
Epic Games issued a response to the report, but did not specify what it will do to address the problem.
“Epic Games takes these issues seriously, as chargebacks and fraud put our players and our business at risk,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by turning on two-factor authentication, not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.”
It is unclear how much criminals are making by laundering money through Fortnite, but it is likely a lucrative illegal venture considering that the game generated $3 billion in profits for Epic Games last year. Using V-Bucks for money laundering would not have been possible if not for Fortnite‘s immense popularity, and unfortunately, there does not seem to be a resolution to the issue on the horizon.