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Indie game key scammer says G2A is the best place to sell stolen keys

An alleged indie game key scammer explains his cyber-fraud process to Kotaku, and says that G2A is the best place to sell illegally obtained keys.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

July 29, 2016

2 Min Read

“G2A [is one of the] great sites to sell fraudulent keys,” “The keys of commerce [are] quick and easy, and there is [not] much bureaucracy.”

Alleged MangaGamer key fraudster Vitor Reis

Digital game marketplace G2A’s been forced on the defensive in the news lately, with developer after developer alleging that they’re losing money on the digital reseller site. The company recently updated its authentication measures to prevent fraud, but some developers still have concerns over the sale of illegitimately obtained game keys. 

Those concerns are only exacerbated by an interview that Kotaku’s Patrick Klepek conducted with an alleged indie game key fraudster. After visual novel localizer MangaGamer noticed that someone was fraudulently purchasing 30 copies of a game at a time, it realized the keys were quickly being resold on G2A and began working to cancel as many keys as it could. 

The company had to change payment processors and grapple with thousands of dollars in lost revenue thanks to the fraudulent chargebacks, which both denied them revenue and cost them $30 per purchase. According to Klepek, that’s when a Brazilian commentator on the MangaGamer Facebook page claimed to be the alleged key thief.

Speaking with the alleged fraudster, who goes by Vitor Reis, Klepek says the man wasn’t just unrepentant about stealing all the keys from a smaller developer, but also claimed G2A was the perfect site to get away with this kind of fraud. “This is easy and very basic,” Reis tells Klepek. “In minutes you can hide your tracks. You do not need a gun to steal, just your fingers and patience.”

Reis says he took advantage of an exploit in MangaGamer’s payment processor in order to steal the keys, but for developers, this seems to only reinforce G2A’s role in the theft process by acting as a middleman between fraudsters and people who wind up with seemingly legitimate keys. 

As Klepek points out, when Ubisoft tried to shut down thousands of Uplay keys it determined to have been stolen, players who believed they’d made a legitimate purchase expressed outrage, and the company was forced to reactivate them.

G2A didn’t respond to Klepek’s request for comment on this particular fraud incident, but did say it wants to make improvements to win developers' trust back. “Sometimes it is harsh. Sometimes when we see these articles, they are not very nice, but we understand that [it’s] our [job] to show people how it is from our point of view,” says G2A CEO Bartosz Skwarczek.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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