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Pokémon Go players beware, there is a phishing scam targeting you

(Photo: MGN Online)

Nineteen-year-old Christopher Newport University student Anna Moon is a Level 16.

Her 23-year old brother Daniel is a Level 15.

It hurts to have your little sister winning the most popular game of the summer: Pokémon Go.

But Daniel could get ahead by buying Pokémon coins.

"I'm a broke college student. I don't think my mom wants me to spend money on that."

If she would allow it, he might be tempted by two phishing emails targeting Pokémon gamers.

In one, the Better Business Bureau warns, gamers are told the game is no longer free, but now costs $12.99 each month. The BBB received a few complaints and then Variety Magazine published an alert http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/pokemon-go-paid-version-scam-1201812900/

7 On Your Side found a second phishing email, offering 14,500 free Poke-coins, a near $100 value if you were to buy the coins legitimately within the app.

"At first I was excited. 14,000 -- that's a lot of cash," said 46-year old gamer, Lori McVittie. She got the email bait, but did not bite.

"I call it a ‘Phokemon’ email. Phishing plus pokemon together and you get ‘Pokémon ’."

Reston gamer, 22-year-old Benjamin Myers, said he would be suspicious by such an offer.

“Probably a virus in there somewhere."

Probably. The BBB warns that the schemes are designed to steal passwords and money.

So would Anna Moon buy coins under any circumstance, just to keep her lead over her big brother?

“No, I want to beat him fair and square,” she said.

But scammers are banking on gamers who are more willing than she is to pay to play.

So, how do you avoid being caught in this scam? Some helpful tips from the BBB are listed below.

  • Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.
  • Check the reply email address. One easy way to spot an email scam is to look at the reply email. The address should be on a company domain, such as jsmith@company.com.
  • Don't believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn't mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the "Sent" email address.
  • Consider how the organization normally contacts you. If an organization normally reaches you by mail, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting in to the new communications.
  • Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Be especially wary of messages you have not subscribed to or companies you have never done business with in the past.
  • If you receive one of the “phishy” Pokémon -Go-related offers, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker go.bbb.org/scamtracker

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