Scam Alert—A Thorough Guide to Various CSGO Marketplace Scam Tactics

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A CSGO Scammer Doing His Daily Scamming Rounds

CSGO Marketplaces in the form of Steam Community Market and third-party marketplaces expanding its functions serve a purpose of facilitating trade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive users who want to trade looted and dropped items between themselves. Unfortunately, there are people who abuse that system, trying to trick you into giving away your items or selling them cheaper than the market price. This article will focus on several popular scamming methods that you might fall victim to.

What are CSGO Marketplace scams in general?

A scam on CSGO marketplace is a misuse of available methods that aims at extorting, stealing or acquiring the contents of your Steam inventory at a diminished value. This might take the form of exploiting holes in the security system of Steam itself, its marketplace, other CSGO marketplaces or even the security of user’s computer. Otherwise, it might take advantage of a user’s naiveness or lack of knowledge. Internalising general information on CSGO scam methods will help you protect yourself from possible scams in the future.

What types of CSGO Marketplace scam can be performed?

Here are five typical examples of CSGO scamming methods that you fall victim of.

Middleman / Steam employee scam

At times, if you publish a notice that you want to trade certain items, like on a Steam group board or in a comment, or put up an item for sale, you can be contacted by a person claiming to be a Steam moderator that has been deployed to check the “validity” of your item, or to see if it hasn’t been “duped”. This person will usually use a legacy account that has been curated to look all professional and will require you to trade in your items for naught. This is an obvious pull. Steam employees will never contact you through Steam’s social modules. If there’s any doubt about the terms of use or anything like that, you will be contacted via the email, not by a single employee through steam.

Gift Card scam

This is a pretty nasty one, as it preys on human insecurity and financial trouble. In this scam, a scammer will pretend to be a worker of some sort of institution—most commonly a tax office worker or a representative of a reputable company. They will inform you of a certain debt to be paid, like for household bills, and offer to take payment in the form of a Steam Wallet Gift card, asking you to use one you already have, scratch the code and recite or copy it for them as payment. This might seem absurd, but if there weren’t people falling for it, scammers would drop these tactics. The official guide on that type of scam can be found at a dedicated Steam Support website.

Quit CSGO scam

This is a method that is less about using some technical issues and more about a story and setup. A scammer might approach you saying that they’re quitting CSGO permanently and switching to a different game, which also happens to have tradeable items. They offer you a deal on a rare knife they won’t be needing anymore, and it’s usually a knife with a lesser demand on the market, so at first glance, it looks like a real treat. For this, he demands some expensive items from the new game he’s going into. If you fall for the story, you’ll end up with an item that is worth less than described.

Quickswitching

Although it’s a method that was more popular back when there were fewer safety precautions in most item trading systems on Steam and beyond, you can still see people perform it in a more sly way. This comes down to proposing some items in the trade window, then quickly switching them to something useless and cheap when the scammed trader is about to accept. The trade view has been improved upon and now requires both sides to check the box after every change to the trade contents. Still, some people will tell you about one item and the put another, cheaper one in the trade window hoping you won’t notice.

Phishing or misleading link

It’s a simple scam, but still very dangerous. A scammer will send you something that looks like a trade link or an inventory preview link, but if you look closely at the address, you’ll notice that the domain name is not right—either a letter is missing, or there’s one extra letter, or it sounds very similar and plausible but is not the main trading domain. Such a link could either lead to a scripted website that swipes your inventory or to an infected website that puts a keylogger or other malware on your computer, compromising your digital safety,

How to protect yourself from CSGO Marketplace scams?

If you analyze the above examples of CSGO scams, you’ll learn several guidelines that will help you stay safe while trading on CSGO marketplaces. Here are some good practices to take up:

  • Don’t click that link. Check it once, check it twice. If someone is offering you a Steam Trade URL, check if it’s coming from the official Steam domain. If they send you an inventory link, check if it really belongs to a reputable marketplace.
  • Don’t accept any middleman or mediated trades. Legit Steam users will have no need to defer their trade to other users or special trading accounts. Reputable marketplaces and third-party services will have their trading bots ready with a description allowing you to discern them from fake accounts—see Skinwallet’s bot description for a real-life example.
  • Don’t fall for sob stories. This is not a matter of buying food, or last wills or anything like this. Be precise, exact and expect your trade partners to be transparent.
  • Once in the trade window, check if the items you’re going for are really the items you’re going for. Some items look misleadingly similar. Hover over the item, check its description, think twice and only then confirm the trade content.
  • If anyone asks for your personal data, Steam login information, game keys, Steam Wallet Gift Card codes, promo codes or anything like that – turn it down.

What to do if you got scammed?

It’s possible that you’ve already got scammed and you’re now looking for assistance. Unfortunately, once a CSGO marketplace scam has been performed, your options are limited, but your situation is not hopeful.

First of all, if you’re using Steam Community Market, contact Steam support. Issue a ticket, describe the situation that occurred and ask for help. If anyone can turn back any stage of the trade process, it’s the Steam staff themselves. If you’re using third-party services, contact their support first – what looks like a scam is sometimes a minor discrepancy in their procedures. A good support agent will do everything to help you diagnose a possible scam.


If you think you’ve been a victim to shady practices, report the abusive user to Steam. They will effectively determine if there’s been foul play at stake. For future trading, make sure to stay as secure as possible. Follow the guidelines mentioned above and stay cautious.

Summary

CSGO scams are methods of cheating users into giving their items away for free or selling them for a price significantly lower than the market average. We’ve named several popular types of CSGO scams and prepared an overview of prevention that can be taken up for such cases.

Maybe it’s impossible to name all CSGO scam methods, as new features and updates of both core Steam system and third-party services mean that new tricks will be executed, but the types of scams mentioned above give a good picture of what might be going on. Let us know if you’d like our team to describe other scam methods, or if you noticed a new pattern in suspicious behavior and you’d like us to have a look at it. Safe trading!

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