Since its launch in 1994, the Sony PlayStation has been a mainstay in the gaming world. At first a simply console for playing video games in cartridge and then disc form, the unit has since evolved to enable gaming in a streaming format. Multiple players can play the same game and communicate with one another from anywhere in the world.
Development of PlayStation consoles is painstaking and, for that, notoriously slow. Only the fifth iteration of the console, PlayStation 5, came out just last year to throngs of eager gamers. It promises even faster real-time play and stunningly real-looking graphics.
As with just about anything that is in demand, PlayStation–both the unit itself as well as the streaming service–has attracted its share of scammers. How can you tell if you are about to be the victim of a PlayStation scam? And is there a way to stop someone who may already have access to your account?
Read the following guide to find out more about the common scams associated with PlayStation, how to verify if your account has been hacked, and then how to get rid of any unauthorized users.
(Do you use a streaming service other than PlayStation? Check out our other Streaming Service Scams guides for help with other major providers.)
Popular Scams Associated with PlayStation
Great Deals on Consoles
The most common type of scam associated with PlayStation is selling fake consoles online. On eBay, Craigslist, and other online outlets, scammers put up listings for brand-new PS5 consoles. Or, rather, images of the new console. Look closely at the fine print in the product description and you will indeed see that you would actually be purchasing a photo of the new console rather than the actual unit itself.
There have also been issues with sellers offering the new PS5 for sale at greatly inflated prices, sometimes more than double the actual $500 retail price. In this case, the scammer (or perhaps more accurately, scalper) effectively fleeces a buyer. And there’s no guarantee that the unit actually even exists.
Using the same channels, other scammers may appeal to economic-minded consumers with PS4 units, at greatly reduced prices. The consoles are still new, mind you, but they aren’t the PS5. In this instance, it’s unlikely that the unit being advertised is really available. The seller will gladly accept payment for the unit, but then disappear right around the time you start wondering why you haven’t received the console yet.
These scammers rely on the public’s insatiable demand and impatience for PlayStation consoles. This was especially easy to do with the release of PS5, with shortages abounding around Christmas-time. However, to avoid being taken advantage of in this way, your best course of action is to wait until consoles are available from legitimate retailers.
The same furor over the consoles themselves has also enabled scammers to take advantage of users with fake emails. In these phishing emails, scammers pose as PlayStation platform officials. Under the pretense of things like security concerns, suspicious log-in attempts, or a failed payment, these emails will request confirmation of a user’s log-in information.
With that information in hand, a scammer can access a user’s account and do whatever they want with it. How to avoid becoming a victim of a PlayStation phishing scam?
- Verify the sender’s email address. If it comes from anywhere other than playstation.com, it’s not official correspondence.
- Be mindful of the tone and language of the email. Any errors in spelling or grammar are a pretty big red flag, as is an overly urgent or threatening tone.
- Without clicking on anything, hover your cursor over any links in the email to see if the destination address appears legitimate or not.
- If you remain suspicious about the email, don’t reply to it or call any numbers shown in it. Instead, follow up by going to your PlayStation Network account directly to verify its claims.
How to Find Out if Your PlayStation Account Was Hacked
If a hacker is able to access your PlayStation Network account, one approach they may take moving forward is making as many purchases as they can before you notice. If you do notice any unauthorized purchases on your account, PlayStation Support recommends first seeing if you recognize the sources of these transactions in the transaction history. Then, if that doesn’t work, you should try to confirm those purchases with family members, friends, or anyone else who could have access to your account.
If no one you know made any such purchases, you may assume that your account has been compromised. If you are still able to access your account, move to stop a hacker by changing your password info.
This is the next logical step for a hacker that has compromised your account. After they have gained access, they will change the log-in information so only they can continue to access and make purchases with your account.
You are likely to be notified when this happens, as your email address is also your Sign-In ID. If you do get an email notifying you of changes or charges to your account that you do not recognize, contact PlayStation Support immediately.
Steps You Should Take to Block Hackers
To keep a hacker from accessing your account, your first course of action is to ignore and/or report any phishing emails you may get requesting your log-in information. Secondly, you should be diligent when it comes to the ongoing security of your log-in info.
To keep your PlayStation Network account secure:
- Don’t share your log-in information with anyone.
- Choose a complex password that would be hard for a hacker to guess.
- Make sure it’s a password that’s unique to your PlayStation Network account. (It’s good practice to have unique passwords for all of your online accounts.)
- Consider changing your password periodically to make it harder for a hacker to pin down.
PlayStation Support is well-aware of the demand for their products, as well as the various illicit means some can take to access those products. As such, you can always reach out to them with any security concerns you may have. They are ready and willing to help you keep your account secure and keep on gaming with confidence.
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. Others include:
For more information about scams in general, you can find it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: Worawee Meepian – www.shutterstock.com