More children are playing games online than ever before, and the risks continue to grow. With over 900,000 games available in app stores, it’s impossible to keep track of the many ways users may be vulnerable.
Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific said in a news release Monday it understands parents want their children to be safe while playing and that many use parental controls, but scammers are always finding new ways to get to children.
Many apps sell game-specific currency to players. Scammers take advantage of this, creating pop up ads offering free currency. The catch is the player must go to another site that requires personal information. The scammers can then steal identities, passwords, gain access to gaming accounts and the bank cards associated with them.
Another serious risk for children is many online predators lurk in the chat rooms that accompany some games.
“One of BBB’s top priorities is educating consumers about protecting their personal information,” said Tyler Andrew President and CEO of BBBNW+P. “We especially want children and their parents to understand the dangers of online gaming.”
Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific is participating in the 16 th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Campaign aimed at raising the public’s awareness of the basic steps needed to stay safe online.
BBBNW+P is offering tips to help protect your children:
Be cautious of links. If an advertisement pops up while playing a game, don’t click on it. If you end up on one of these links, do not enter personal information.
Strengthen your password. Creating a strong password and changing passwords regularly can keep you from being hacked by scammers.
Set boundaries. The online gaming community often opens doors to new friendships with other players, but make sure that you do not exchange personal information with someone online that you do not know.
Throughout the month of October, BBB will release cyber safety tips and articles to help consumers and businesses stay vigilant. Articles and a cybersecurity toolkit for small businesses can be found at www.BBB.org/BBBSecure.