Since the day it was founded in 1975, Microsoft has continually succeeded by always being on the cutting edge of computer and internet technology. And, since 2001, it has also stayed on the forefront of gaming and streaming technology with its Xbox gaming system.
For the past 20 years, Xbox has helped set the gold standard for gaming with engrossing and sophisticated games, fast and responsive controls, and high-speed streaming. All of this is especially true of its most recent releases in 2020: the robust series X and cost-effective series S consoles.
As with just about anything that is in demand, Xbox has attracted plenty of scammers and hackers, for both the console itself and the account information of its users. How can you tell if you are looking at an Xbox scam? And how do you stop someone who may already have gotten access to your account?
Read the following guide to find out more about the common scams associated with Xbox, how to find out if your account has been hacked, and then how to block access to any unauthorized users.
(Do you use a streaming service other than Xbox? Check out our other Streaming Service Scams guides for help with other major providers.)
Popular Scams Associated with Xbox
New Xbox consoles don’t come out every year, or even every other year. As such, it’s a big deal when they do. In the case of the new series X and S systems, demand was so high that the initial run of consoles produced sold out almost immediately. This left many people wringing their hands this past Christmas.
Never ones to miss an opportunity, scammers have tried to take advantage of consumers’ desperation. They have listed new units for sale online at prices double or even triple that of the actual retail price. And some scammers have tried to sell units they don’t actually have. In this case, consumers have been getting things like cat food or toilet paper instead of the pricey gaming console they paid for.
Don’t let impatience make you vulnerable to such scams. It’s worth waiting for legitimate stores to restock and know you’ll actually get the console you want.
Given the demand for them, gaming systems are popular lures for giveaway scams. They may look like realistic ads, complete with a tempting picture of the supposed unit you could win. All you have to is click on it and fill out a form to be eligible to win.
Except, there was probably never an Xbox for you to win. All you did was give a scammer valuable information that they can now use to spam you to death (at best) or try to steal your identity (at worst).
When it comes to online giveaways, always always read the fine print before clicking on anything or filling anything out. And if Amazon or some other legitimate retailer is presented as the supplier, check with them directly to confirm that the giveaway is real.
How to Find Out if Your Xbox Account Was Hacked
You Can’t Sign-In
Next to the console itself, access to an Xbox Game Pass can be a valuable commodity to scammers. The most obvious sign that someone has managed to hack your account is when your log-in credentials no longer work. Once a hacker gets in there, they want to take control of it. So, the first thing they do is change the password so only they can get in.
If you find yourself locked out of your account, Xbox Support suggests you first try to reset your Microsoft password online. This process includes 2-factor authentication, with a code sent to your phone or email to confirm your identity, as well as an online account recovery form.
If you aren’t able to reset your password this way, you can request communication to a different email address.
Sometimes, a hacker just wants to play a game on someone else’s dime. In this case, they will get into your account just to buy a game or two and then leave.
It’s a good habit to periodically check the recent activity on your account right after you sign in. If there are any transactions or log-ins from devices that you don’t recognize, you should take immediate action to change your password. And reach out to Xbox Support about crediting you back for any charges you did not make.
At the same time, you should also check your account, profile, and billing information to see if there have been any changes you did not authorize. If so, you can correct/change things back as needed to the way you want them.
Steps You Should Take to Block Hackers
When it comes to protecting your Xbox account from hackers, a good defense is truly the best offense. To keep your accounts secure, you should:
- Make sure any security info attached to your email address is current and correct. This will help greatly in terms of 2-factor authentication.
- Verify the devices where your profile has been saved, and protect your profile on all of them.
- Add more security info to your account. (Xbox Support recommends including more than one phone number and email address.)
- Make sure all the devices you use have the latest security updates installed.
- Install or update virus or malware protection.
- Be sure that any phishing filters you have are turned on.
- See to it that kids and any others who may use your Xbox account are able to recognize scams.
The amount of information about hacking and scams on the Xbox support pages is extensive. This shows just how aware they are of the problem and how dedicated they are to stop such crimes and protect their users. Whether it’s when you’re participating in a first-person shooter game or managing your account’s security, it’s nice to know when someone has your back.
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. Others include:
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. And for more information about scams in general, you can find it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: Worawee Meepian – www.shutterstock.com