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The Fortnite V-Bucks black market that sells in game cosmetics for pennies

The Fortnite Underground Cybercrime Economy grosses over $1 billion per year (Image via Sportskeeda)
The Fortnite Underground Cybercrime Economy grosses over $1 billion per year (Image via Sportskeeda)
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Rishabh Sabarwal

Fortnite is one of the top games in the esports industry, grossing over a multi-billion dollars per year from in-game purchases. But while there's a white and clean side to the internet, there's a side loaded with stolen information for sale. From personal details to credit card numbers to login credentials, all is available in a place that people call The Dark Web.

A black market site selling OG Fortnite Accounts (Image via Sportskeeda)
A black market site selling OG Fortnite Accounts (Image via Sportskeeda)

The sale of stolen video game accounts is a black market that amounts to over $1 Billion per year, and a majority of their shares come from Fortnite accounts and their precious in-game currency called V-Bucks.

Just getting back into selling skins these are all the new codes I have in stock! If you’re interested please send me a DM thank you! #fortnite #fortnitecodes #fortniteskincodes #vbucks #HarleyQuinn #dizzie #FortniteChapter3 https://t.co/8Dkjb3Uh9t

Epic Games has always kept users' security in mind and has taken strict actions against those who violate their regulations. However, hackers have continuously exploited Epic's security and found a way to farm V-Bucks, gift in-game cosmetics using illegitimate methods, and trade inactive accounts on the white web using mainstream platforms, creating their own 'Marketplace' in the system.


The Fortnite black market racket and how it operates

Fortnite V-Bucks being sold for pennies on the Dark Web (Image via Sportskeeda)
Fortnite V-Bucks being sold for pennies on the Dark Web (Image via Sportskeeda)

Hackers have been stealing inactive video game accounts ever since they discovered glitches and workarounds, easily getting past the security systems of the developers' servers.

Using the Dark Web and Cybercrime methods, they steal inactive accounts on systems such as XBOX, PS4, or even Nintendo, especially those with an active payment method linked to them. They then purchase V-Bucks from a region where they can get it much cheaper, like Brazil, where the exchange rate of local currency is much lower than USD.

Hackers have no cap of redeeming V-Bucks using illegitimate methods (Image via Twitter)
Hackers have no cap of redeeming V-Bucks using illegitimate methods (Image via Twitter)

Hackers can then remove the original payment method and change the account credentials to sell it off on the Dark or the White web for a much lower price than the original value of these in-game currencies. However, Fortnite players who buy them can later on sell those accounts to collectors for a higher value, depending upon the rarity of in-game cosmetics.

A dark web site selling Nintendo V-Bucks to users with "No Refunds" (Image via Reddit)
A dark web site selling Nintendo V-Bucks to users with "No Refunds" (Image via Reddit)
An account with over 28 Million Nintendo or XBOX V-Bucks (Image via Discord)
An account with over 28 Million Nintendo or XBOX V-Bucks (Image via Discord)

The hacker community named these stolen V-Bucks as "Nintendo V-Bucks Method" and "XBOX V-Bucks Method". Although farming these illegitimate V-Bucks has very minimal to do with the Nintendo Marketplace, it is a safer platform for these hackers to stay off the radar from Cybercrime authorities.


Who operates these marketplaces?

A WhatsApp marketplace run by a 13-year-old kid from India (Image via Sportskeeda)
A WhatsApp marketplace run by a 13-year-old kid from India (Image via Sportskeeda)

Taken into a dark web loop are teenagers from age 12-16 who are active players in Fortnite and have regular interactions with the player community. Hackers then show these kids the methods of acquiring V-Bucks and make them their sellers.

Bots like AK-47 & Fortnite Item Shop Bot are used to gift cosmetics with illegitimate V-Bucks (Image via Telegram)
Bots like AK-47 & Fortnite Item Shop Bot are used to gift cosmetics with illegitimate V-Bucks (Image via Telegram)

These kids then set up virtual marketplaces on platforms like WhatsApp, Discord, and Telegram, where they can sell V-Bucks and Nintendo Gifting of in-game cosmetics for pennies. Every year in India, over 15000 kids get added to the existing marketplace of buyers and sellers, with some making a fortune of over $2000 a month.


Consequences that their customers and Fortnite players suffer

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Every time a Fortnite player falls into greed for more cosmetics and V-Bucks, they suffer major consequences that Epic hits them with. This affects their overall account which may result in a permanent account, IP, or hardware ban from which the user may lose access to it altogether.

Epic revokes V-Bucks that are purchased from a Third Party Seller (Image via Twitter)
Epic revokes V-Bucks that are purchased from a Third Party Seller (Image via Twitter)

If a user has purchased such Nintendo or XBOX V-Bucks on their account, Epic may revoke those V-Bucks from the user's account, resulting in a Negative V-Bucks value. To bring it back to positive, the player will have to purchase legitimate V-Bucks and bring it back to zero.

People Who Bought Skins With Nintendo Vbucks And They Got Revoked RN https://t.co/SBI7wLO4NZ
Fortnite removes the cosmetic purchased using illegal methods from player's locker (Image via Twitter)
Fortnite removes the cosmetic purchased using illegal methods from player's locker (Image via Twitter)

For cosmetics and illegitimate gifting of items, Epic has removed countless cosmetics from the player's locker and issued them with a warning. After repeated warnings and revokes, if a player continues to buy V-Bucks or gets gifted using bots or illegitimate methods, it will lead to a permanent ban.

As this underground market continues to grow, one can only hope that Epic Games takes strict action against those who abuse these guidelines. Only time can tell if the gaming industry can become a much safer place for those who wish to enjoy it ethically.

Note: The article reflects the writer's personal views.


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Edited by R. Elahi
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