Just one and a half year after its initial launch, Fortnite has become one of the most successful multiplayer game in the world. Last November it set a new record for the highest number of concurrent players at 8.3 million, and analysts have reported that its brought developer Epic Games a profit of $3 billion in 2018. However, this exponentially-increasing fame comes with some not-so-desirable side effects. For example, the battle royale’s giant player base has been turned into a tool for money laundering.Fortnite Money Laundering

A recent report from Variety has discovered that criminals are using Fortnite’s in-game cosmetic items to turn credit cards that they have stolen into cash.  They create a free Fortnite account, use the stolen credit cards to purchase skins, V-Bucks (A virtual currency used in the game), and other digital items, then sell the account on third-party auction services such as eBay, or even on the dark web.

The solution?

While these accounts might be sold for an amount of money smaller than their actual value, this process still converts credit cards that were stolen into legitimate money through various purchases made through services like PayPal.

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This technique is called ‘carding’ and it has been used with other games as well, not just Fortnite. However, the massive popularity of the battle royale title means virtual items associated with it are also well sought-after, which makes it an appealing medium for this technique.

Even so, this issue is not easy to regulate. One cannot ban the trading of Fortnite accounts altogether, as there are still many “clean” players who are selling their legitimate accounts, items, or currency on eBay or other third-party markets. It is practically impossible to differentiate these valid accounts with those that contain items purchased with illegal money.

Fortnite V Bucks Dark Web Money Launder Crime

So, to combat this, the first logical step would be for Epic Games to open an official trading storefront – which the company has put into trial recently – since doing so would remove the need for people to purchase entire accounts.