With one-third of gamers surveyed reporting unpleasant experiences such as scams, bullying and cheats, you need these gentle reminders …

Did you know that around 12% (roughly 179 million out of 3.1bn gamers globally) have had their ID stolen, and that data could be worth as much as US$347bn if we assume the average Steam account is worth around US$1,936? 

In Nov 2020, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky found this out when it surveyed 5,031 gamers across 17 countries. Of the respondents, 19% had also been bullied while playing. This trend was even more prevalent in Russia (44%), Saudi Arabia (27%), Turkey (28%) and the USA (27%).

Some 33% of them had experienced cheating. All of these negative experiences combined caused stress and anxiety in 31% of 5,031 gamers surveyed.

Said Marina Titova, the firm’s Head of Consumer Product Marketing: “When gaming, it’s important to consider from the outset, how you can best avoid or handle bullies, cheats and hackers. Acting on this early means you can put many of those fears to the side and focus on enjoying the game.”

So here are seven ways to help be as safe as possible while gaming online:

  1. Buy from official sources
    Always shop for PC games either on well-known platforms or on official developer sites.
  2. Save smart
    Official stores often provide amazing discounts, or even free games. But many e-mail offers can be a scam. Be cautious when coming across any unsolicited gaming promotions: go to the developer’s or store’s website to see if the discount is mentioned there. If not, it is not real.
  3. Check the return policy
    Before buying, know the store’s rules for returning a game you do not like or if it does not work on your computer.
  4. Use a dedicated card for online shopping
    Instead of linking a card that is linked to all your savings, get a debit card for online shopping and top it up as needed. That way, should intruders break into a site you use, they will not get much.
  5. Use a secure connection
    We recommend logging in to online stores only from a secure wired or wireless internet connection and protected by updated cybersecurity software.  
  6. Protect your accounts
    Do not use social network accounts to log in to your online gaming accounts or anywhere else.
  7. Protect your devices
    The computers, smartphones, and tablets you use for gaming also need protection. Install and regularly update a cybersecurity software that blocks fraudulent websites and malware, provides alerts about security issues, and offers gamer-friendly modes that do not interrupt or interfere with gameplay.