The Independent has conduced an investigation into how Fortnite is being used to launder money. This really comes as no surprise as Epic Games has pretty lax restrictions on how to acquire its in-game content and V-bucks. Being the world’s most popular game with millions of gamers logging on daily and such a deep pool of players buying in-game items it is the perfect stage for an almost untraceable money laundering scheme.
In their investigative report the Independent teamed with cybersecurity research company Sixgill, who found that the usage of stolen credit cards to acquire bulk content in the Fortnite store was a relatively effortless way for criminals to then sell these items on eBay or social media. Sixgill found that Fornite items on eBay grossed more than $250,000 in a 60-day period last year. Most of the sellers were only accepting cryptocurrency as means of payment, which makes it very hard for law enforcement to follow the money.
Sixgill employees who posed as potential buyers found a network that deals in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and English. I separate investigation done by IT security firm Zerofox found 53,000 different online scams related to Fortnite between September and October of last year, with 86% of those scams being shared via social media.
Epic Games made $3bn in profit in 2018 with Fortnite, all via microtransactions.