A nasty scam has become more popular over the last few months. People desperate for work at popular game studios like Riot and Rockstar Games get an email from a recruiter asking them to apply. They do and eventually get the job only to realise it’s all fake, usually after losing money to the scammers. Now, Riot Games is taking legal action and filing a lawsuit against the people behind this con.
As reported by Polygon, numerous game studios have received emails and messages over the last few months from people who were scammed after applying for a job. The methods vary somewhat, but it usually begins with that email from a fake recruiter asking them to apply.
Of course, the hopeful applicants get the job, complete with paperwork and emails that all look official. Some victims even have to go through fake interviews with the scammers pretending to be actual employees, asking questions about the victims’ past work history and experience. Then, a fake human resources employee asks the victim for their banking information to set up direct deposits as well as a few hundred dollars in advance for fees they say go towards equipment like iPads, often with the promise that it can be expensed at a later date.
Eventually, the victims figure out what’s going on when they try to cash the fake reimbursement checks they receive or after they contact the real Riot looking for information or asking questions. But by then it’s too late, and many have already lost money or feel embarrassed for falling victim to this relatively new scam.
According to Polygon, this is how Riot Games first learned about these recruitment scams months ago when victims first reached out with questions and frustrations. Sources told Polygon that other game companies are suffering similar issues, including Grand Theft Auto studio Rockstar Games and Manticore Games. But Riot appears to be the first to take legal action via a lawsuit filed last month in California.
A lawyer for Riot Games explained that the lawsuit — which targets the unnamed and unknown scammers — is essential in tracking down the people behind these fake recruitment schemes and learning more information about them and how they operate.
Scams have risen in the United States since the start of COVID-19, as more people are desperate for work and money. According to an FTC report in February, victims of various schemes lost more than $US3 (A$4.20) billion in 2020, an increase of over 80 per cent compared to the previous year. And with many jobs and services relying on remote communication, it has become easier than ever to trick people into giving up money and information.