As part of my pass time I had entered the world of online gaming over two years ago. I'm not a big gamer in any sense of the word. In fact there is only one RPG ( Roll play game ) that my wife and I do play. The specifics and nature of that game is unimportant, nor is online gaming in general.
What is important is that just a few short months ago XBox live had added a new socializing feature called
“ Friend finder app “
Now before the addition of this app gamer's would add friend to their friend's list either by knowing the real person and exchanging their gamer tag's ( Online name ) or by adding them while playing the various games and meeting them that way.
With this new friend finder app it opens up the entire XBox live membership to any member wishing to scan through the whole roster.
Now I am sure Micorsoft had only good intentions by adding this app. Unfortunately social media in general is pron to one form of abuse or another. And as we all know scammers are jumping on ever form of new social media as fast as it goes public. And it did not take long for one of those forms of abuse to reach out to me.
I had received a message that someone had added me as a friend. However I did not recognize the gamer tag so I had left it alone. The whole friend finding process takes both parties to fully complete, but the sender can send messages. While in game play my in box was getting so blown up I could not focus on what I was doing so I went to my messages.
The sender was showing up as off line while on line. ( A feature anyone can use ) And while in chat I kept trying to find out which games they prefered. If their interests in games was different then mine then I would have said thanks but no thanks.
But they kept changing the subject and would not answer my questions. Until finally they got to the point. Long story short she was a cyber stripper looking for clients. I said not interested. They pushed. I said leave me alone, I'm happily married. Didn't stop her. She even tried to offer me a free pass code to her web site but only if I would give she a good rating.
At this point I had had enough. I unfriended her, blocked her, and reported her profile as a spammer.
Now this whole incident has nothing to do with romance scamming. Unfortunately lately I have had some new twists thrown my way. Since that first fake friend I have had others attempt friending me in much the same manor. A new friend request followed by a short message.
“ Hey want to hang out ? “ or “ Hi what's you doing ? “
But twice so far I have receive these.
“ I saw your profile and you look like someone I've been looking for “
Sound familiar ?
And also hard to believe since I have all of my personal information on hide. No real name. No age. Nothing about where I'm from. Just my gamer tag and everything else that normally comes up. Which is not much. My friends list. The games I play. And my achievements I've earned in those games. And nothing else.
Now it is not like these false friend attempts are at epidemic levels. In fact I have only received a total of around a half dozen or so. But it's those “ I saw your profile “ ones that have the hair on the back of my neck standing up.
Now since that cyber stripper I have a practice I follow with ever new friend request. Regardless if I think I may know the person or not. Before doing anything I take a look at their full profile and I go straight to their achievements. If they have no games played or no achievements I deny the request and block the profile.
But this new twisted development has my Spiddy senses tingling like mad and there is nothing I can do about it. Because with gamer profiles there is no useful information to research or post. And even if there was that information would be more or less useless. Because a scammer would never put their active gaming profile at risk of being banned. They would do what they always do. Create a fake profile.
This whole thing also scares me just a bit. Not for me personally, but for the unsuspecting, potential victim. Now I have no idea if the other network ( Playstation 4 ) has or have added a similar app. And I don't think you can send photos to your XBox friends. But this could be a way for scammers to fish for victims with full anonymity. And it stands to reason that once some sort of a hook is set they would take their conversations elsewhere to finish the job.
Anyway as I said there is no information that can be researched or posted.
All I have are my suspicions.
So I am doing the only thing I can do at this point.
Post my suspicions about this potential new avenue for scammers.
And hope this post may per-warn someone and prevent them from falling into their trap.
Or someone could tell me I'm seeing ghosts around the corner.
But my Spiddy sense is telling me I'm dead on.