By Kevin Holland
The virtual currency of Fortnite, a massively popular video game, is being used to launder money, according to the Independent.
Though the game is free, additional items can be bought, such as outfits and weapons. It is now a firm favourite with the underworld.
Criminals use stolen credits cards to purchase the in-game currency, and it is then sold on at reduced rates to other players via the ‘dark web’. By this mechanism the money is ‘cleaned’.
Fortnite has over 200m players around the world, generating annual profit of $3bn for its maker, Epic Games.
The scale of money laundering is not known precisely but overall eBay sales of Fortnite items grossed $250,000 over just a 60 day period.
Many sellers on the dark web are taking payment in bitcoin, making it much harder for authorities to track.
Research by Zerofox, a security company, found 53,000 instances of online scams concerning Fortnite. The majority of which were shared on the major social media platforms.
Money laundering is a major concern for the EU right now, and urgent action will be needed to ensure online games do not grow into a major source of illicit money flows.