The Independent has conducted an investigative report into the underwold's usage of Fortnite as a venue for money laundering. This likely won't come as a surprise - Fortnite has pretty lax acquisition restrictions for its in-game content and V-bucks, and the world's most popular multiplayer game moves millions of players through its servers daily. with such a deep pool of likely buyers for anything Fortnite at under Fortnite-store pricing, the stage is set for an almost untraceable money laundering scheme.
The Independent partnered with cybersecurity research company Sixgill in their investigative report, and the company found that usage of stolen credit cards to acquire bulk content in the Fortnite store was a relatively effortless way for criminals to get their hands on valuable digital goods, which they then resell either via Ebay (Sixgill found that Fortnite items grossed more than $250,000 on eBay in a 60 day period last year) or social media. That most of these users are only accepting cryptocurrency as means of payment is telling, in that it becomes just that much harder for law enforcement to keep up with the money trail.
This is a global phenomenon - Sixgill employees posed as potential buyers and found a network that deals in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and English. And research conducted separately by IT security firm Zerofox found 53,000 different instances of online scams relating to Fortnite between early September and early October - with an estimated 86 per cent of those scams having been shared via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Epic games, of course, made some $3bn profit in 2018 with Fortnite - all via microtransactions. Let's just say that in the face of increased profits, any serious action to mitigate the chances of this happening likely aren't at the top of the priority list.