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Itch.io changes policy in wake of pirated games scam

Open marketplace adapts after users report ersatz indie games being sold in store

Itch.io touts itself as an open marketplace for independent game creators, but it's become a little less open after a recent rash of fraudulent sellers were caught selling pirated copies of indie hits. As reported by Kotaku UK, itch.io users yesterday discovered that listings for deeply discounted copies of games like Rimworld and Dead Cells were not coming from the developers themselves.

Itch.io responded first by removing fraudulent listings and sellers, and shortly thereafter announced policy changes to prevent the problem from recurring.

"Since we're an open marketplace, there have been attempts at scamming in the past, but we tend to always catch them before anything happens. This time was a bit different," an itch.io representative said, adding, "This particular scammer is also taking advantage of a 'direct payment' mode that we originally offered that allows a seller to skip itch.io and sell directly into their PayPal account. Although this might be nice for some sellers, it means they're essentially getting away with the money without allowing us to intervene. We're going to be heavily restricting this feature of the site for the foreseeable future."

The site also said it is in the process of reaching out to individual customers to arrange for refunds.

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