More than 1,000 gamers have had their access to Natural Selection 2 cut off after Valve found their copies of the game linked to credit card fraud. Due to charge-back fees, this ended up costing the developer, Unknown Worlds Entertainment, over £20,000.
All affected players have had their game deactivated because they were found to have bought the Steam key from a third party that was using stolen credit card information to buy the games, before revoking payment. Not all keys were bought through Steam though, some were purchased through the Natural Selection website.
Once purchased, the keys were sold on at a discount to unsuspecting Steam gamers and the fraudsters used the charge-back facility on the stolen cards – which allows card holders to dispute online credit card charges – to be refunded the initial purchase price. Each time they did this, it cost UWE $22 in fees. With over 1,300 purchases, those costs quickly ramped up.
Explaining that the two legitimate places to buy Natural Selection 2 was Steam and its own website, the developer said: “If you see Natural Selection 2 available anywhere else — like the many sites out there that sell Steam keys at a discount — then you are not buying it from us and there is no way to know if that key is legitimate. As as result, we strongly discourage purchasing from these sites.”
UWE did express that it was sorry that gamers were affected by the scam.
KitGuru Says: Shame that people got caught out on this one, but quite easy to avoid really – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.