North Carolina Attorney General Warns of Pokémon Go Scam Targeting User Information

The scam begins with a phony email claiming that game developer Niantic has begun charging users to play Pokémon Go

North Carolina Attorney General Warns of Pokémon Go Scam Targeting User Information
Image: NCCC
July 15, 2016

The new mobile game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of excited new users—but North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is warning gamers to be on alert for scammers that are targeting unsuspecting Pokémon Go players.

According to an alert issued by Cooper's office, a new email phishing scam making the rounds seeks to trick users into giving up their personal information and paying money to play the Pokémon Go game, which is free.

The scam begins with a phony email claiming that because of a record-breaking number of users, game developer Niantic has begun charging users $12.99 per month to play Pokémon Go. The email claims that anyone who doesn't pay the upgrade fee immediately will have their game accounts frozen within one day.

Concerned Pokémon Go players who click the upgrade link are asked to provide their email login credentials, giving the scammers access to information in their email accounts—which can then be used to perpetuate identity theft.

To help Pokémon Go users avoid falling victim to a scam, Attorney General Cooper offers the following tips:

  • Don't be fooled by logos, websites, or links that seem like the real thing. Many scam emails use real company's logos to seem authentic. Past phishing emails have claimed to come from major companies like PayPal, eBay, banks, credit card companies, non-profits, charities, and even government agencies like the IRS.
  • Report phony emails to the legitimate business directly. Contact the company using a telephone number or web address you know to be right, not using the contact information in the phishing email. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov.
  • Never share your personal or financial information by email. Be wary of any email that asks you to key in login credentials to one of your personal email or financial accounts. Instead, use legitimate, secure login websites to access your accounts, not links included in questionable emails.

If you believe that you've been contacted by a scam artist, report it to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Find out more about phishing scams and how to avoid them.