This is a bit of a missed subject, or so I feel. Nonetheless, game fraud exists and for various reasons.
If you’ve ever looked up “free [enter name of game currency] in [enter name of game]” you’re aware of the number of sites, apps and hacks offered for each successful game.
Some are phishing efforts, targeted at greedy players, but other are real, offering high ranking characters in World of Warcraft or a high roller in a social poker app.
How to tell if you have fraudulent players in your game
Most of the time your players will tell you (assuming they have a way of contacting you), but it’s also good to keep an eye for the tell tales:
- Set a Google alert (or whatever service you use for it), with the relevant keywords as described above
- Make sure you’ve got a good set of reports on your game’s economics.
- Look out for outliers, major shifts in currency and goods A drop in revenues without any other reason can also indicate that something isn’t right
- Have a dedicated staff member / team (depending on the size of your studio)
- Use an external service (I’ve seen a demo of https://www.panopticonlabs.com a while back, and it looked pretty impressive) if you need to.
How do you deal with it?
First off: congratulations! your game has caught some attention (probably more than some, if someone thought they can profit of off their fraud in it).
Next: realize that this is an arms race, or a chess game (pick your metaphor). Once you’ve got it (and unless they exploited a hack in your game), it will never really go away.
You can however control the scope and minimize the damage: Shutting down accounts with suspicious activities is the easiest and most basic step.
There are more sophisticated methods, feel free to contact me for details