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Valve adds pop-ups to Community Market warning of potential scams

Dialogue boxes warn users if they attempt to purchase items for a game they don't own, or a new release

In the wake of multiple Community Marketplace scams, Valve has put in place some additional warnings that will, it hopes, mitigate any counterfeit item sales that slip through the cracks. Specifically, pop-ups have been added when making certain types of transactions to encourage the user to check the item they are purchasing a bit more carefully.

One of the scams that likely triggered this change was shut down just yesterday. A game called Abstractism appeared to have scammed at least one person into purchasing an in-game item that used the asset and name of a rare item in Team Fortress 2. To someone just browsing the store, the item might appear at a glance to be the Team Fortress 2 item due to its image and description, but it was not actually an item for that game. The listing was removed yesterday, along with the game (which was also downloading cryto-mining software onto user PCs, incidentally).

To encourage users to check the game they are purchasing items for in the future, Valve has implemented two additional dialogue boxes that may appear prior to a purchase. One will alert the buyer if they are purchasing an item for a game they do not have in their Steam library, and the other will pop up if the game is a new release. Both are quickly dismissed if the player intends the purchase, but may also direct eyes to the name of the game the item is for in case the purchase is unintended or misunderstood.

On a Reddit thread identifying the change, Valve engineer Tony Paloma ("Drunken_F00l") also chimed in to say that further changes were on the horizon.

"We also started requiring approval for app name changes, and have more planned to address this sort of problem that we couldn't get done in one day," he said. "We are hopeful that having to dismiss two warning dialogs will be sufficient to make people think twice about trades containing forged items, but this is not the end of our response, and we'll continue to monitor, of course."

He also said that anyone who was tricked by the scam prior to the warnings would have their items restored or recovered, and that the process would "hopefully" be automatic and would not require users to submit tickets.

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.