The game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is becoming increasingly popular as people seek an escape amid the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say players should watch out for scams.
The Nintendo series is known for its open-ended gameplay, which consists of the main character carrying out various activities and selling items for in-game money called “bells.” The newest rendition of the game expands upon the previous version's ability to support multiplayer activities, which is reportedly causing some problems.
The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to be vigilant and to watch out for people trying to take advantage of you during online gameplay.
The BBB says many Facebook groups dedicated to Animal Crossing have been created, with strangers coming together to arrange virtual town visits. However, these groups have become places for scammers to prey on players.
“While most players may be respectful and kind, a few bad eggs have ruined the online gaming experience for others,” the BBB wrote.
The BBB says recent Animal Crossing-related scams that have emerged are centered around individuals trading real world money for in-game funds, particular characters or other perks.
The BBB offered the following tips for safe gameplay:
Beware of “Real Life” Transactions - Scammers can and have created listings on eBay or in Facebook groups, advertising wanted characters or items for sale. Once you pay with your own money, not in-game currency, the scammer disappears, and you’re left without your purchased items.
Know Your Friends - Set boundaries with players you interact with online. Only provide travel codes (called DODO codes) or send “best friend” requests to people you know and trust in real life. The “best friend” designation gives players a greater ability to make potentially unwanted changes to your town.
Create a Safe Space - If you must invite a stranger to your island, fence off areas that you don’t want a visitor to interact with - such as flowers, fruits, and other objects you don’t want stolen.