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"Gamer Safety Week" kicks off today

Hackers can and will do anything they can to access your information for their personal gain.
Hackers can and will do anything they can to access your information for their personal gain.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Have you ever received one of those SPAM mails that claim to be from one of the online games you play, requesting you to change your password or billing information? It's pretty easy to avoid one of these types of letters. But what about when a major company like Playstation Network, Ubisoft, or 'League of Legends' becomes compromised?

That's why there's "Gamer Safety Week". Today marks the kick off of the MRC Gamers Safety Alliance (GSA) 3rd Annual "Gamer Safety Week", which will also coincide with Safer Internet Day. The theme for this year is 'Account Safety and Security in the Online World', and most of it will be focused on what gamers are facing today as far as fraud and account security.

"When users invest so much time and money into their gameplay, account
security becomes a serious issue. We want to make sure that people can
continue to play and have fun without losing everything they have
accomplished," said Mark Gerban, head of payments, Innogames.

Losing your game saves is bad enough, but it can be worse to lose everything in the real world. With many data breaches, hackers try to acquire information like pin and account numbers, as well as personally identifiable information (PII) such as addresses, payment methods, and real names. What may seem like an inconvenience when you can't access your game account may in actuality be a breach of your identity. What's more, hackers are becoming even more competent and having an easier time stealing information, as shown with the numerous data breaches over the past year.

"Gamer Safety Week allows for the best minds in online gaming fraud
prevention to collaborate on risk mitigation strategies that protect
their consumers," commented the MRC's Karisse Hendrick, an industry
specialist.

So, what can you do to try and protect your information? The GSA has issued a few guidelines to help out:

-- Add security proofs (phone number, secondary email address, etc.) to all
online accounts where possible, especially when email accounts are used
as usernames.
-- Do not use the same moniker and password for your email address as other
online accounts (ex. John123@example.com, online account usernames =
John123).
-- Use multiple e-mail addresses for online accounts. Consider using
different groupings such as a secure e-mail address for all financial
and banking information -- one account for online shopping accounts and
other for online gaming.

Additionally, you can take further steps to protect your identity, such as never giving out your payment method information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Also, many gaming companies WILL NOT ask you for PII in game through a messaging system, or though email. And, make sure you know where the links in those emails you've been sent actually go.

For instance, if you receive an email from "Blizzard" saying your account has been banned, and to see why go "here", then you need to check the link's address before you click on it. Most likely, it will have an additional character in it (http://blizzardn.com) or something will look out of the ordinary. The best way to avoid it, is not to open those emails at all. Go directly to the game's website through your own browser as opposed to clicking on any links.

"Gamer Safety Week" begins today February 10 until the rest of the week.

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