Friday the 13th Kickstarter backer rewards were stolen by staff at game distribution partner and sold on eBay (Updated)

Update: Friday the 13th publisher Gun Media originally said that keys for in-game rewards intended exclusively for Kickstarter backers had been stolen from one of its distribution partners and sold on eBay. It did not say which distributor, but Limited Run Games—which distributed the Kickstarter rewards—has since been in touch to confirm that the keys were likely stolen by one of its temporary contract workers. The culprit is not known, but the company no longer uses temporary contract workers.

Here's Limited Run Games' statement:

"Up until last December, we often utilized many temporary contract workers to assist with the various busy work that shipping thousands of packages on an irregular schedule requires. It's our best guess that one of these workers took it upon themselves to illicitly access the codes. This was not sanctioned by us nor Gun and neither of us knew it had happened until the community brought it to light.

"We stopped utilizing temporary workers in December when we noticed that our game inventory was off. Without those previous workers around, the inventory loss stopped. We don’t have any reason to believe that the person in question still works for us. Unfortunately, we don’t know who the specific culprit is. We foster a very open and friendly environment at our office and we never expected something like this to occur. These actions completely betray the trust we had in whoever this person is.

"We’re moving into a new office next week that provides deeper levels of security for our partners, our inventory, and ourselves. Rather than utilizing temporary workers, we’re now relying on the killer team of full-time shippers that we’ve built up, love, and trust. All of our employees know that we have a hardline policy against eBay and resellers. The actions of the person selling these codes were not authorized by us and do not reflect us or our values in any capacity."

Original story:

Keys for items intended exclusively for Friday the 13th Kickstarter backers were stolen from one of publisher Gun Media's distribution partners and then sold on eBay for more than $100 each, the company has confirmed. 

The sale of the keys was uncovered by the digging of one Reddit user who monitored the eBay account's activity. They initially assumed that the keys were being sold by a Kickstarter backer that had purchased extra keys, but they became suspicious when the account carried on selling the keys—for items including in-game outfits—for months, at upwards of $100 each time. The eBay user's feedback page shows that they made tens of thousands of dollars from the sales.

A Gun Media spokesperson commented on the Reddit thread to confirm that the keys had been stolen from "one of our distribution partners", and that any unredeemed keys have been cancelled.

"We previously assumed that backer-content keys being sold on eBay were the same as you; a fan who got in early and purchased extra keys. After reviewing the information that you have posted, it is absolutely clear that this is not the case. With some investigation, we quickly determined that the keys being sold come from a theft at one of our distribution partners. 

"The company has worked to resolve the situation, but unfortunately, both we and the company were unaware of the digital portion of the theft until these auctions were brought to our attention. While there is not a never-ending source for these codes, we will be cancelling any unredeemed codes that have been affected by this theft. Again, thank you for the effort you put into this, and for bringing it to our attention."

The eBay user's sales history also includes trading cards from distributor Limited Run Games and keys to Lawbreakers, another title distributed by Limited Run Games. The company also distributes physical copies of Friday the 13th. The Gun Media spokesperson did not confirm whether Limited Run was the "distribution partner" in question—I've reached out to clarify the matter.

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.