CFPB flags risks in video game marketplaces

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CFPB flags risks in video game marketplaces
Credit: © Reuters.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a report highlighting potential financial and privacy risks for consumers participating in video gaming marketplaces. The report, titled "Banking in Video Games and Virtual Worlds," examines the burgeoning sector of financial transactions on gaming platforms, which now resemble traditional banking and payment systems.

According to the CFPB, Americans spent nearly $57 billion on gaming in 2023, with a significant portion of this spending on in-game transactions, such as buying virtual currencies. These transactions occur in virtual markets, allowing gaming companies to simulate real-world financial activities. However, this growth has been accompanied by reports of scams, phishing attempts, and account thefts, leaving consumers exposed to financial harm.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra stated, "As more banking and payments activity takes place in video games and virtual worlds, the CFPB is looking at ways to protect consumers from fraud and scams." The report outlines that gaming services and products now enable players to store and transfer assets like in-game currencies and virtual items, which can have substantial real-world value.

Consumers have reported limited support from gaming companies when experiencing financial harm, with little recourse or compensation for losses. Furthermore, gaming platforms collect extensive data on players, including financial data and potentially sensitive biometric information, raising additional privacy concerns.

The CFPB's report comes in response to consumer complaints regarding hacking and account theft, with many consumers indicating they received insufficient support from gaming companies. The bureau is monitoring these markets to ensure compliance with federal consumer financial protection laws.

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