Fortnite – What Parents Need to Know

If your kids are anything like mine, they are current obsessed with the online game Fortnite.  I will be honest, aside from what my son talks about (non-stop) the game, I don’t really know much about it.

Here is a guest post from Matt Tatham who is the manager of content insights and data analyst at Experian Consumer Services, a division of Experian, the nation’s largest credit bureau. Matt talks about some of the underlying dangers kids are putting themselves and parents at risk while playing. It was very eye opening for me.

While You’re Playing Fortnite, Fraudsters Are Looking to Play You

Have you played Fortnite yet? If you haven’t, you probably know someone who has as the game’s popularity has exploded in recent months, attracting celebrities, professional athletes, and gamers of all ages. Unfortunately, Fortnite’s mass appeal is attracting hackers and scammers too. Players and parents need to pay attention in order reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Part of the game’s attraction is that it’s free and available to players across multiple video game consoles, PCs, and mobile phones. The Hunger Games-like world of Fortnite allows players to showcase their creativity while playing. However, scammers are also getting creative.

Fortnite creator Epic Games recently warned about the most common Fornite scam on its Twitter account for players: “Say NO to scams! Beware of scam sites offering free or discounted V-Bucks.”

How Big Is Fortnite?

Fortnite: Battle Royale has more than 45 million players worldwide as of January, according to Epic Games. Those numbers are sure to have grown since the game’s popularity has jumped: A recent live-streamed game set a new Twitch record for individual online streams, with over 600,000 people watching. The game featured rappers Drake and Travis Scott, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and one of the game’s popular players, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

Professional athletes are using the popular Fortnite dances in their own game celebrations and Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price missed a start because he had carpal tunnel syndrome from playing too much Fortnite.

SuperData, a research firm that specializes in video games, estimates Fortnite generated nearly $296 million in April and has the possibility of generating $3.5 billion in annual revenue.

A Common Fortnite Scam: YouTube Free V-Bucks

That kind of money and the addictive nature of the game has drawn criminal elements to the Fortnite universe. New players mean new opportunities for fraudsters who promise something free to help elevate your game. In Fortnite there are V-bucks, the virtual money that players can use to buy new gear.

While recently playing the game with my son and wanting to help advance “our Battle Pass” standing, I did a search for “free V-bucks.” I found results promising we would win huge amounts of Fornite V-bucks. My son suggested I check out those third-party videos on YouTube and what came back were more than 4.6 million various videos promising players to get free V-bucks by following their instructions or tips.

Most send you to a website where you share an obscure code from your game account; in some cases, that allows scammers to gain access to your payment information either on your smartphone or game console. The third-party sites also have plenty of ads (which can lead you to download malware on your computer) or follow up with an email, which is really a phishing attempt or to download their app that can have spyware.

I know because I watched plenty of the videos hoping to find one I thought was legitimate but was too nervous to click on anything at that point. Ironically, one video demo of how to get free V-bucks has the username shown as “VIRUSS999.” While that username may be an easy sign of a fake account, other ways to spot a scam video are to look at the number of likes and dislikes a video has received, and whether or not the poster is verified by YouTube with a check symbol next to their name.

Android Fornite App Scam

Another scam that has been affecting Fortnite players are fake apps for in the Google Play store. The game isn’t available on Android devices yet, though a launch is planned by the end of Summer 2018. Security researchers at Zscaler found a bunch of Android apps posing as the official Fortnite app for Android.

When players download the fake version of the game on their phones they ended up downloading spyware and adware that ends up being a real-life cyberattack. Many of these fake apps ask users to rate and review it with pre-written comments that make it look like the app is legitimate. In one case, Zscaler found an app that had over 5,000 downloads with more than 4,000 five-star reviews.

You should make sure to check your iOS and Android privacy settings to see if you’re allowing third-party app downloads from untrusted sites. If you do, you may want to change that setting or delete those apps. You should only get apps from the official Apple and Android stores.

Don’t Get Scammed or Hacked While Playing Video Games

You need to understand that even while playing games, sharing too much information online can allow scammers to gain access to your stored credit card number and perhaps even steal your identity. Here are some video game tips to help you avoid scams:

  1. Don’t Overshare Information

Avoid sharing details such as your real name, address or your account password as scammers will try to become friends with anyone in order to steal information. Only follow friends or people you know and don’t accept the random stranger friend request.

  1. Don’t Use Your Game Password on Other Sites

Using a different password for a game site limits the risk if the site is compromised at any time. Make sure sites asking for your game password are legitimate either through a verification check mark on YouTube or has an official affiliation with the game website and developer.

  1. Use Two-Factor Authentication

You’re able to add this to most video games and consoles now and it gives you an added layer of security. Two-factor authentication requires you to provide a second piece of proof in order to verify your identity, usually a code sent to your mobile device or email. While it takes a little extra time to set up and log in, enabling the feature in the device or on the game console is worth it.

  1. Don’t Let Friends or Family Share Your Account

Password sharing or account sharing is a surefire way to increase the odds of having your account hacked, have your information stolen, or lose money. As tempting or peer-pressure packed as it may be, don’t give in.

  1. Use a Throwaway Credit Card

Use a virtual credit card or one that is not your everyday card tied to your bank account. This will help you minimize your risk if your credit or debit card number is part of a data breach.

  1. Don’t Talk to Strangers

As old-school as it sounds, if some random person asks for details such as name, birthdate, Social Security number, or even about hobbies and interests through a game or text, don’t respond. If they ask for money, don’t give it to them no matter the reason.

If other players start harassing you or ask for money you should report that player to the Epic Games player support page.

What to Do If You Think Your Identity Was Stolen

If you think you or someone in your family have become a victim of identity theft you should report it to the support page for the game and to the game system so they are aware.

If any of your information is compromised, change your password immediately and consider getting a new credit or debit card. You’ll want to keep an eye on accounts and even your credit report (you can check your Experian credit report for free) to make sure no fraudulent charges or new accounts show up.

For more information on staying protected, visit the Experian blog.


Summer fun with Bubble Pong

Disclaimer: Although items in this post were provided to us, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

As a I look my slightly sunburned skin, I smile and remember all the fun we had on our first official long weekend of the summer.  The weekend was filled with visiting family, swimming with friends, movies in the park and lots and lots of bubbles.  Yes, bubbles.

We recently received Bubble Pong by Gazillion to test out.  It is a 2 player ping pong ball game and bubble machine all in one.  I love 2 player games as my son and I can play them together, just the 2 of us.  Often other games require more than just the 2 of us and harder to enjoy.

Bubbles pong box

The object of the game is to bounce the balls into your opponent’s side and when you do, bubbles come out at them.  It has 3 different modes – beginner, intermediate and advanced.  And let me tell you, the advance mode took some skill so kids of all ages can enjoy this.  And when you are done playing the game or just want to enjoy bubbles, you press a button and it becomes a bubble machine.

My son is a bit older so I wasn’t quite sure what he would think of it but he loved playing with it.  He even begged me to let him take it to a friend’s house over the weekend so that they could play with it there.

Bubbles game

It’s fairly compact so it is easy to take with you.  The only downfall is that if you have the bubble liquid in the machine and want to take it somewhere you do risk spilling some of the liquid out.  But realistically you could just put it in a plastic bag and it will be fine.  It does take 8 AA batteries but they seem to last quite a long time in my opinion and the bubble liquid surprisingly last a long time too.

Bubbles machine

With summer just starting I am looking forward to spending a lot of time outside playing Bubble Pong with my son and watching him and his friends enjoy the bubble machine.  You can get your own Bubble Pong in Canada at Walmart, and ToysRUs.

DIY · What I'm Wearing

Inspire My Creativity – Recycled Jean Skirt

I am not one to wear all the latest trends and fashion, I kind of just go with the flow and wear things I like.  However, this spring I am seeing a lot of jeans skirts in stores and this is one trend I am happy to follow.  But instead of buying one of those jeans skirts in the store, I used it as an inspiration for this month’s Inspire My Creativity Project.

That being said, it’s time again for our Inspire My Creativity blog hop.  If you haven’t visited us before, you can check out one of our previous hops where we made “Flower” crafts and I made Flower Crowns.   Each 2nd Wednesday of the month, we post our latest and greatest creations.  Each month has a predetermined theme and this month’s theme is “Something to Wear”.

This past Christmas I was thrilled to get a sewing machine as a gift from my family.  Up until now, my Mom had used it to fix a couple of items when she had visited but I hadn’t personally gotten a chance to use it.  In cleaning out my closet recently, I had several pairs of jeans that I had that were no longer wearable due to holes in them.  Sure, ripped jeans are acceptable these days to wear but the holes in these were not acceptable.

Jean Skirt jeans first

I hadn’t gotten around to throwing them out, and had kind of held on to them in case I need patches for my son’s jeans or any other sort of use.  So I decided to take a pair of the old jeans and see if I could transform them into a new skirt for myself.

First thing I did was cut off the legs to jeans about 2 – 3 inches longer than you want the skirt hem to fall.  Then cut open the inner seams of the jeans.

Jean Skirt cut the seams

I then cut a portion of the seam that is just below the zipper up from the bottom about 2 inches.  This portion will help the fabric lie down flat when you sew up the front seam.

Jean skirt cut over

I then turned the jeans inside out and sewed up the back seam.  At this point you can choose whether you wan the kick pleat at the front or the back of the skirt.  I chose to put mine in the front.  If you chose the back, only sew down until about 3-4 inches from the hem line.

Jean skirt back seam

For the front seam, lay the cut area under the zipper over the other side of fabric until it lies flat.  Be sure that it’s pulled over enough so that when you sew the front seam it closes far enough down.  I incorporated the kick pleat in the front, so I only sewed down until about 3 inches above the hemline.  Once you have the front sewn, you can either cut the hem so that it is straight and leave it a ragged edge or fold it over and sew up for a clean edge.

Jean skirt front and hem

And in those simple steps, you have yourself a new skirt!

jean skirt recycled diy

I have to say this project came together a lot easier than I had originally anticipated and so glad I attempted it.  Check out the other hostesses for our link party and see what great ideas they came up with.  I can’t wait to see all of their creative ideas.

Cathy  |  A Boy and His Mom
Meg  |  The Kusi Life
Candice  |  She’s Crafty
Jaclyn  |  The Dotted Nest
Victoria  |  Dazzle While Frazzled
Sydney  |  Tastefully Frugal
Lindsay  |  See Lindsay
Julia  |  The Quiet Grove
Looking for more “Something to Wear” ideas or have a post of your own that you would like to share?  Join our Link Party below.