PUBG permabans Steam chargeback fraudsters

The Deston map in PUBG.
(Image credit: Krafton)

Player Unknown's Battlegrounds is at the moment enjoying a second wind. Following a nonsensical name change last year (to PUBG: Battlegrounds) it followed-up by going free-to-play in January, a belated recognition that the genre it popularised risked leaving the game behind. It worked too, with the game picking up more than 80,000 users per day since the switch, and owner Krafton reporting a 20% bump in revenue.

There's still a lot of money in PUBG, in other words, and so it's a target for all kinds of fraud attacks. It seems that one has met with temporary success before being noticed, and Krafton's now stamped down on it.

"As we've recently noticed a sharp increase in the number of potential Chargeback cases regarding certain PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS items (G-Coin)," reads a Steam post, "we went through a thorough investigation with Steam and have discovered these in-game transactions were confirmed to be chargeback frauds."

Chargeback fraud is when users buy an item and then, rather than contacting the seller for a refund, dispute the transaction with their bank. When it works the fraudster receives the goods and is refunded their money directly by the bank through the chargeback process. So a group of users worked out they could get a whole bunch of G-Coin this way.

Well, hope they had fun because Krafton's now "placed permanent bans on the accounts pertaining to these fraudulent transactions." It re-emphasises that the game's TOS and Rules of Conduct prohibit such behaviour, and reminds players to "understand and comply" which all sounds a bit Robocop.

The PUBG team didn't provide details on the scale of the hack nor the number of accounts banned, though the fact it's even posting about an exploit suggests a significant amount of such transactions went through.

PUBG continues to receive substantial updates, with its most recent map addition letting players slingshot across it. Elsewhere in the world, the Taliban's finally got around to banning PUBG in Afghanistan because it's too violent and "misleading youth". Yup.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."