Steam Gift Cards Scams Are Still a Big Problem


April 25, 2024

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Steam Gift Cards Scams Are Still a Big Problem

Scammers will always find ways to trick people into doing their bidding, even when their grift seems so unlikely that people would believe it to be impossible. The Steam Gift Card scam is an example of a campaign that should not work, yet it’s a bigger problem than people realize.

The Steam Gift Card is a scam in which criminals contact potential victims directly via email, Discord, phone or other platforms and persuade them to purchase gift cards for various reasons.

Sometimes, the scammer pretends to be a state official or some other representative and asks for this kind of currency to cover unpaid bills or taxes. In fact, impersonating I.R.S. agents is one of their favorite methods.

Who are the targets?

Since Steam is a gaming platform, it might be easy to believe that games are the obvious targets, but that’s not entirely accurate. Victims can be people who have heard about Steam but are not gamers themselves. Parents or grandparents are more likely to fall prey to this scam than gamers.

Real Steam Gift Cards can have values between $5 and $100. They can be bought directly from Steam or other retailers, including actual stores. But they can only be redeemed on Steam. Unfortunately, victims don’t know this and fall prey to whichever ruse criminals use.

Different types of scams for different kinds of people

The most common type of scam happens when people receive a phone call and, in a discussion in which victims are convinced they are speaking with a legitimate representative of a company or institution, they are directed to buy a Steam Gift Card from a retail shop. Scammers want the code on the back, which they can sell on the black market or activate directly into Steam accounts.

There’s another side to the Steam Gift Card scams. Sometimes, people try to buy gift cards from shady websites that promise them at a lower price. For example, a $100 gift card is available for only $50, which doesn’t make sense because $100 is the value and should not be available for less.

While these scams are often perpetrated via phone or instant messaging apps, they can also arrive via email. The messages differ widely and blend with frauds such as the Nigerian Prince, in which potential victims are promised large millions of dollars in exchange for only $165, payable, of course, in Steam Gift Cards.

Other emails mention that a package containing a credit card is stuck at U.P.S. (package delivery company) and that you “only” need to pay $50, payable in Steam Gift Cards or Apple Cards. But this scam goes beyond that and will also collect a lot of personal information, which might be even worse, in some situations, than a complex phishing scheme. Victims will have to provide details such as:

  • Full name
  • Delivery address
  • Phone number
  • A copy of an ID or the ID number for identification

Sometimes, scammers even ask for the receipt under the pretense of verifying the transaction. In reality, the receipt helps them show legitimacy when they sell the Steam Gift to someone else if Valve decides to invalidate the code for some reason.

These are only a few of the methods scammers use to ask for Steam Gift Cards, but they all have the same underlying message: victims must provide payment in the form of gift cards. Fortunately, this is also one of the best ways to identify scams.

How to stay clear of Steam Gift Cards Scams

· There’s no situation in which someone has to make any type of payment in the form of a gift card. Anyone trying to convince you otherwise is a scammer.

· Only purchase gift cards from official retailers or from Valve itself. Don’t buy from second-hard markets or from shady websites.

· Use a dedicated security solution, such as Bitdefender Total Security, on your devices.

· If you’re unsure whether a message you received is real or a scam, paste it into Bitdefender Scamio, which is created and trained to detect scams. Scamio is accessible on any device without requiring installation and can be used to verify links, text messages, emails, and even QR codes.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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