Valve Introduces Safeguards to Stop Fake Item Scams

Valve Introduces Safeguards to Stop Fake Item Scams
  • A new developer created items that resembled those of TF2
  • You'll get an alert if item belongs to a game you haven't played
  • Players who have been scammed will get their items back

Days after a report published details of a Steam game scamming players with items that closely resembled those from a more popular title, Valve says it has introduced a couple of safeguards to prevent such strategies.

On July 30, VG247 noted that a small-time Steam developer named Okalo Union had built a game called Abstractism, launched March 15, that was a front for two different kinds of scams: one involving mining cryptocurrency using users' PCs and the other built around fake items.

While the former has been used by all kinds of apps in recent years, the second is unique to Steam, where players can trade items obtained by playing games on the platform. These items range from a few rupees to over tens of thousands.

In the case of Abstractism, the fake items resembled those of Team Fortress 2 (TF2), with the same name, description, and image. By doing so, Okalo Union were able to fool unsuspecting players who clicked the trade button without checking what game the items belonged to.

To stop this, Valve has introduced two changes. One, players will now get an alert while trading if the item they're about to purchase belongs to a game they've never played before. Two, developers need approval to change the names of in-game items, which prevents scam artists from renaming items after releasing their game.

"We are hopeful that having to dismiss two warning dialogs will be sufficient to make people think twice about trades containing forged items, but this is not the end of our response, and we'll continue to monitor, of course," Valve developer Tony Paloma explained on Reddit. They will also "restore/recover" items for those who have already been scammed, he added.

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Further reading: Valve, Steam
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