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Valve adds scam protection to Steam trades following wave of counterfeit items

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Yesterday we reported on two games being used to pawn counterfeit Steam Community Market items: Abstractism, which was being used to peddle fake Team Fortress 2 items (opens in new tab), and Climber, which was doing the same thing but with fake Dota 2 items (opens in new tab). Since those scams were discovered, Valve has instituted new trade protections to protect Steam users from scams like these. 

A GitHub (opens in new tab) archive of the Steam Database (spotted by Reddit user wickedplayer494 (opens in new tab)) shows two warnings which now appear during "suspicious" trades. The first warns players if "one or more of the items you're receiving in this trade come from new games on Steam," which will help filter out slapped-together cash-grabs. However, it's unclear what the cutoff point is for "new games," and in the case of games like Climber, which was on Steam for two months before it was used for item scamming, this warning alone may not be enough. 

This is where the second warning comes in: players will also be notified if they are offered items that "come from games that you have never played." This warning could have prevented the scams pulled by Abstractism and Climber, and should prevent similar ripoffs going forward. 

Valve engineer Tony "Drunken_F00l" Paloma offered more information on Reddit. "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," Paloma 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." 

Paloma also said Valve intends to restore or recover items "for anyone who was tricked by this scam prior to the warnings being in place." The Steam Community Market FAQ (opens in new tab) explicitly states that "you will not have any right to a refund or a reversal of any Community Market transaction once it is completed," so the prospect of scam victims getting their items back was looking grim. It's nice to know that returns will be offered after all. 

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.