Internet, Networking, & Security Antivirus Fortnite V-Bucks Scams: What They Are and How to Protect Yourself You've gotta buy or earn 'em: There's no such thing as free V-Bucks by S.E. Slack Strategy Director, Lifewire.com S.E. Slack has 30+ years' experience writing about technology. She has authored 12 books and thousands of articles, and she has worked for IBM and Microsoft. our editorial process LinkedIn S.E. Slack Updated on December 02, 2019 Antivirus Online Scams Social Media Scams Email Scams Phone & Texting Scams Tweet Share Email With more than 250 million players, Fortnite is one of the most popular online games in the world. That makes it a massive target for internet scammers, who have found different ways to exploit the game's currency, V-Bucks. If you haven't been stung yet, you could be soon. Part of the fun in playing Fortnite is using V-Bucks to purchase battle passes, emotes, skins, outfits, Loot Llamas, and other game options. The more V-Bucks a player has, the more features they can unlock and the better the gameplay is. The only official websites for Fortnite are epicgames.com and fortnite.com. Any other site claiming affiliation or actual official status is fake. What is a Fortnite V-Bucks Scam? Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi Because there are multiple versions of Fortnite now there are almost infinite paths to success for scammers. There is no single scam associated with V-Bucks or Fortnite. Instead, there are thousands. Here are some examples: A website offers thousands of free V-Bucks just for signing up with them.Free V-Bucks codes offered in exchange for completing surveys.YouTube videos and fake ads (sometimes using unsuspecting YouTube celebrities) that lure viewers to external pages where they are asked to provide email addresses or download apps.Sites that claim to provide gift cards that can be used to purchase V-Bucks in return for watching videos, completing online offers, or downloading apps.Fortnite generator tools offering free, unlimited V-Bucks. How Does a V-Bucks Scam Work? You can play Fortnite forever without ever using a single V-Buck. You can also earn them in-game in a variety of ways. Scammers, though, rely on human greed to make their swindle work. The scams work by convincing victims to release Fortnite login details, personal email addresses, and/or credit card or other financial information. They want money and you want fast, free, easy V-Bucks, so they offer what you want and sneakily find ways to ferret out your personal information in order to use it to access either your Fortnite account for stored credit or debit card details or other banking information. They then use those details to steal funds, either by directly transferring money into their own accounts or laundering it through fake online stores that they run. Sometimes the scammer simply holds the information to use at a later time, when you won't connect missing funds to suspicious activity involving Fortnite or V-Bucks. In those cases, it could be months or years before money is suddenly drained from your financial accounts. In late 2019, Epic Games announced it would begin offering official V-Bucks cards through select retailers in a several countries including the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Germany. The cards are available for purchase both online and in stores. Learn more about where to buy and how to use these gift cards. Note that these gift cards are not free but only available for purchase using legitimate currencies. How Do V-Bucks Scammers Find Victims? There are thousands of domains and YouTube videos focused solely on Fortnite scams. Between them, you can imagine the numbers of links to fake websites floating around social media and inside the game itself that are waiting for someone to click them. Scammers find their V-Bucks victims by making their sites and links seem as legitimate as possible, with many even claiming to be authorized by Fortnite's parent company, Epic Games. Most scammers use curiosity, fear, false urgency, shame, and other tactics in their quest to steal money and sensitive information from you. Sometimes, they will post suspicious links on social media or you might open your email to find an exciting free V-Bucks offer, which is really an email scam. How to test a suspicious link without clicking it They can even approach you inside the game through voice and text chats, encouraging players to click links to get those V-Bucks or to provide email and login information for some supposedly legitimate reason. These communications, particularly via messaging or email, often contain embedded links to malware that can capture banking information and relay it back to the scammer. How Do I Avoid Getting Involved in This Scam? First, remember that all Fortnite game versions include options for earning V-Bucks, but all of them involve playing the game, period. If you come across an offer to earn V-Bucks in any other way, you're likely dealing with a scam. Parents can use Fortnite's parental control options to help keep children safe during gameplay. Have serious discussions with children about the dangers of playing games online and follow these tips for staying safe on the web in general. You can avoid getting sucked into a scam by following a variety of key online safety tips, specifically: Never enter your Fortnite username or password on any site except the legitimate game site.Frequently update your login information to thwart hackers.Resist the urge to click email or social media links that promise free V-Bucks. Facebook friend requests are often harbingers of these scams.Stay away from websites that promise V-Bucks in exchange for completion of surveys or other actions that require your personal email address or other sensitive information. If you aren't already using it, get a strong antivirus program. Epic Games, Fortnite's parent company, acknowledged in 2019 that it found a major security flaw that could have allowed hackers to access player accounts, steal login credentials, and gain access to stored credit card information. It has not admitted, however, whether any of these actions actually occurred, just that they could. I'm Already a Victim. What Should I Do? There are several steps you can take to stop further damage and protect yourself. Immediately delete your Fortnite account to stop scammers from doing further damage. Yes, you will lose your game progress and any legitimate V-Bucks but at least the scammers won't have access to you, your gaming details or any personal details associated with your account anymore. If any financial information has been compromised in the scam, contact your bank and change all your banking passwords and usernames. Your financial institution can help you identify further steps that might need to be taken to protect your accounts. If you're not already using two-factor authentication, start. Add it to any account where it's available, particularly these types of highly sensitive online accounts. You should also add it to your email account, too, if it's available. Add 2FA to these popular online accounts Report the scam. Don't let fear or shame stop you; scammers depend on your unwillingness to let others know you were taken advantage of so they can continue to con others. If the scam involved email, there are specific steps you can take to report those harmful communications in Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail. How Do I Avoid Being Targeted For This Type of Scam? The best way to avoid being targeted by scammers is to be proactive and stay vigilant. You can spot scam websites if you're paying close attention but always think carefully about how you end up on any website: Did your web browser suddenly redirect you to an unfamiliar site? Did you click a link from social media to get to the site? Is it offering you something that you know isn't truly available from Fortnite game developers? Did a YouTuber tell you to go to that link for free V-Bucks? Scam websites can often be part of a computer virus scheme, so it's critical that you keep your antivirus software updated. Those programs are designed to help spot fraudulent sites or detect suspicious activity on your computer. How to update your antivirus software Phishing and other email scams target users to send them to fake free V-Bucks websites. Pharming scams, too, are a specific type of scam that direct users to fake websites specifically to steal personal and financial information, so immediately leave any site that asks for your personal information.