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Helping you stay safe on PlayStation Network: How to spot a scam

Expert advice from our safety and moderation team on how to spot unauthorised activity

Continuing our series of articles looking at online safety, in this edition I wanted to share some broad advice to help you keep yourselves safe online. This is by no means a complete list of potential issues you may come across, but does apply to a wide variety of potential issues. As I said in the last article in the series – and as a general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Also remember the best way that you can help keep PSN safe is by using the system level reporting function so if you ever come across anything on PSN that you suspect is a scam you can report it to our Moderation team who will be happy to investigate.

Selling mods or cheats

While some games support official mods the sale of mods or in-game exploits by individual users is strictly prohibited. In the vast majority of cases the people that claim to sell these cheats are lying in an attempt to gain access to your account details or to simply steal your money.

As well as running the risk of losing your account or being conned out of money, the developers of the games in question may also punish players that use real cheats to gain an unfair advantage.

We’ve said it before, but you should never share your login details with anyone, especially the unscrupulous sort of person that thinks cheating in online multiplayer games is acceptable in any way shape or form.

Remember, if a digital item isn’t being sold on the PlayStation Store or through a genuine authorised retailer then it likely isn’t a legitimate offering.

“Free” games or PSN credit generators

Let’s nip this in the bud right here: there is no such thing as Free PSN credit or game code generators. Sites that claim to offer free codes are designed to make you part with your personal information which can result in your account being compromised, being signed up for unwanted services, or being bombarded with spam mail.

These sites are often designed to look like legitimate sites, such as PlayStation.com, but if you look closely at the URL and see that it isn’t the site you were made to think it was then that should be a huge red flag. You should never enter any personal information on these sites because you have no idea who will have access to your details or what they’ll do with them.

Impersonating an official

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In 2016 we introduced verified accounts with the PS4 System Software 3.10. This blue tick is given to the accounts of verified games industry professionals, as well as the official accounts of specific games and PlayStation staff. In short, if you see the blue tick next to their online ID you know that they are who they say they are.

You will never be approached with offers for free items or rewards via PSN messages, especially from someone without the blue tick next to their online ID. The scammers may ask you to verify your own identity by providing them with personal information, such as your email address and password, but remember that we would never ask you to provide your personal information.

Chainmail

While this isn’t always a particularly malicious thing, chainmail spam is incredibly annoying for those that receive it. It can be even more annoying when the messages that are being forwarded on contain obviously false claims.

Chainmail spam may claim to contain details of some sort of exclusive deal or offer – such as getting free PSN credit for every person you send it on to – but this is universally false. If we were running a deal or promotion we would advertise it through our own official channels, such as this very blog.

Paid assistance

As outlined in our last article, we do not allow people to sell their services through PSN. The scammers are likely well aware that this is against the rules and will try to hide what they’re doing.

Firstly, there’re no guarantees that they will actually be able to provide the service they are offering. Secondly, there’s no way to be certain that they won’t just take your money and run as soon as you hand the cash over.

You can be confident that it is a scam if the other player tries to direct you to switch to a messaging service other than PSN. They will do this because our moderation team cannot see messages that are shared outside of the PlayStation ecosystem.

If you are ever the victim of serious fraud you should contact the police and we will do whatever we can to assist in their investigation.

Buying accounts

Someone may offer to sell you an account with a ridiculous number of games on it for a very low price. You can safely assume that these accounts have been stolen and that the perpetrator is trying to get some quick cash before the original owner reclaims the account. So long as the original owner is able to prove their identity, we will always side with the original owner of the account.

If you have ever lost access to your account you can contact our customer services team who will be happy to help regain access once they have verified your identity.

Read more in our “Helping you stay safe on PlayStation Network” series:

12 Comments
0 Author replies
Stonesthrow 11 May, 2018 @ 17:52
1

Oh, yeah. I remember how I used to get messages sometimes from morons who think forwarding that message would get them free credit *facepalm*. Putting messaging off altogether has been a blessing for me. Had one case where someone was spamming via party system, so I wish I could put that off too.

2

I think I am being scammed by a company that forces me to buy cheap, old games I have no interest in, just so I can use my internet connection to play games online that I bought at full price. What makes it even worse, they’re making fun of me every month by telling me that these games are free.

Stonesthrow 12 May, 2018 @ 16:23
2.1

Hah, so true. PS+/online combo is the biggest scam of all.

2.2

Lol I bet they won’t get your reference. Modern games are such a joke, so much focus on graphics, none on gameplay, or vice versa but no middle ground, the only new game that I’d say was worth buying in the last 10 years (not including remasters) was GTA:V which puts every other game to shame. Developers just have no clue where to improve their games.

Take GT3 as an example, great game, just amazing, still one of the highest rated racing games. Money based career, car tuning, set championship car prizes to aim for and push yourself harder to earn. So where to go next? Semi-freemium, online focused, instant super cars, no progression, no career. Smh. This is a stale industry and unfortunately for everyone, it’s still making money.

Gta5 online actually has a better racing career mode than GT now, and that’s just sad.

And I know it might seem like I’m going off on a tangent here, but it comes back to this: getting what you expect when you buy a full price game, when you buy a game cal...

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Lol I bet they won’t get your reference. Modern games are such a joke, so much focus on graphics, none on gameplay, or vice versa but no middle ground, the only new game that I’d say was worth buying in the last 10 years (not including remasters) was GTA:V which puts every other game to shame. Developers just have no clue where to improve their games.

Take GT3 as an example, great game, just amazing, still one of the highest rated racing games. Money based career, car tuning, set championship car prizes to aim for and push yourself harder to earn. So where to go next? Semi-freemium, online focused, instant super cars, no progression, no career. Smh. This is a stale industry and unfortunately for everyone, it’s still making money.

Gta5 online actually has a better racing career mode than GT now, and that’s just sad.

And I know it might seem like I’m going off on a tangent here, but it comes back to this: getting what you expect when you buy a full price game, when you buy a game called gta, or GT, or final fantasy, you expect a game from that series, not some loose interpretation just cashing in on the name, forcing you to accept the new online features that nobody was asking for, then forcing you to pay a subscription for those new features.

Carnivius_Prime 14 May, 2018 @ 15:11
2.3

I hated GTAV’s main story mode. Online was fun in short bursts with good friends but I absolutely hated the story mode. Plenty far better games than that crud including the new God of War, Uncharted, Horizon and so many more.

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2

Will its nice you can report these kind of people. But not sure if it’s the support people or the tools they are given, which is not good enough, but I stopped wasting my time on reports, when they are not treated seriously.

I reported bots with level 1 and with names like LillySandra26. which starts chatting you up about how they are a naked gamergirl…and if you chat long enough it will lead to a link to an erotic site – Declined, nothing was in breach on terms. You have to keep the chat going until you get the link or else it’s declined, no thanks don’t have time for that.

I reported accounts which was accounts only made to spam out community invites – Declined, nothing was in breach of terms.

Carnivius_Prime 12 May, 2018 @ 08:41
4

Usually the EA logo appearing on a game is a good indication of a scam too.

panda-assassin9 14 May, 2018 @ 23:03
4.1

Haha, noice

“I’m trying to get some cash together to go to college, first hour free, come see me topless” – They’re usually quite obvious.

panda-assassin9 14 May, 2018 @ 23:03
6

It’s terrible that this is what can happen online, it’s worse for kids as they don’t know better, especially when tricked for items on their favorite game. What if we just get rid of ps as a whole? THAT’LL SHOW ‘EM!

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