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Beware of scammers!

 

 

Hello friends!

 

Unfortunately, recently in our community there have been cases of deception of forum members by unscrupulous people when providing or receiving certain services for the technical side of the game.

 

The game server administrator @Artstyle lost the server files of his project - while providing dev services, a scammer downloaded them to his computer, and then deleted the files from @Artstyle's computer. Moreover, according to the administrator, the scammer launched his project using stolen server files.

 

The development team, which includes our forum member @cpworkerz, lost $2,500 by purchasing "fixed" server and client source codes of the Corsairs Online version from a scammer. In fact, the source codes turned out to be with bugs and vulnerabilities. Also, backdoors were found in the sources - a malicious code that allows the scammer to turn off the game server.

 

@K1D0 was looking for a C++ developer for his project to fix some bugs and vulnerabilities in the Corsairs Online server and client source codes, and help to add some gameplay modifications to them. After the "developer" received the money ($1000), he stopped communicating, or started answering that he is very busy. A few months later, @K1D0 discovered that the "developer" was working on another project and using ideas that @K1D0 came up with.

 

 

 

Thereby, friends, I want to give you some recommendations if you are going to provide or receive services on a paid or free basis:

 

1) Remember that the Internet is a suitable environment for scammers. You cannot know for sure the true intentions and motives of the person on the other side. Treat your interlocutor/contractor/customer with a healthy dose of skepticism. Many have seen the meme, which depicts a dog sitting next to a computer, and the inscription: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. Nobody.";

 

2) Try to choose contractors who have been proven by deeds and time, if possible with real reviews and portfolios. You should be alerted that a user you do not know, who just registered on the forum yesterday, kindly offers you to help set up the server and solve all your problems for free. Do not forget that the rating and feedback of the "developer" can also be cheated, or his account can be compromised and used by a scammer;

 

3) Learn about the phenomenon behind the word "fake". In simple words, this is a false user who is trying to impersonate another one and act on his behalf. Nothing prevents a hypothetical scammer from registering an account on the forum/Discord/other place with the same nickname (name) and avatar (photo), and offering you services from a well-known developer in the community, which should increase your level of trust in the scammer. I personally encountered my fakes twice: first time, second time - on the in-pko forum;

 

4) When working with a contractor, you should not give him access to information more than is required to complete the task. When working through a remote desktop, watch the actions of the other person, turn off the feature to transfer files and other functions if they are not required. If the contractor installs a lua script on your game server, then they do not need to know the data to connect to the your MSSQL server. Also, after the completion of work, installation and configuration, for example, a website or a game server, i.e. things during the installation of which another person gained access to confidential data (for example, a database user or a GM account), do not forget to change these data to others known only to you (change passwords and so on);

 

5) Before purchasing a service, think: "Do I really need this service?". Estimate the rationality of the price of the service. If the service object is a source code, script, program, i.e. some file, then make sure that this file is not in the public access for everyone and they do not want to sell you "air" in this way. Think about where a contractor got this file from: in theory, can they have the skills and knowledge to create this file? Do they resell someone else's work? Did they steal this file from someone? Feel free to ask the contractor the appropriate questions to be sure that they are the author of the file. Discuss the upcoming deal with other people on our forum, find out their opinion and feedback about the contractor. In 2016, our forum faced a rather unpleasant situation. We were fundraising money to purchase the source codes of our game from a person in China. When the raising was completed, the funds were transferred to the seller of the source codes, and the source codes given to the forum, people well-known in the community appeared who said words like these: "You all were deceived, these source codes have long been on the Chinese server in the public access, here is %link%". Why they were silent all the time of the fundraising - is the another question;

 

6) Determine with the other party such a model of payment and transferring of work so that there are no situations when funds are transferred to a contractor, and the contactor disappears without a trace, or when the completed work is transferred to a customer, and the customer disappears without a payment, respectively. Minimize your risks whenever possible, in a way that suits both parties. For example, a part is paid before the start of work, the second part is paid after the work is completed. For long-term cooperation, also pay for the work by parts based on the results of the work. Alternatively, you can turn to a disinterested intermediary who is trusted by both parties and who will ensure the security of the deal. For contractors, I want to note the existence of the chance that by the time the work is completed, the customer will disappear or change his mind about purchasing the service. To protect yourself from this situations, especially if there is a large amount of work to be done (large project), or you doubt the person (you should doubt, see paragraph 1), then it makes sense to require an advance payment from the customer;

 

7) Keep logs of all chats and record conversations with the other party. Do not forget that many modern messengers have a function for deleting and editing messages, which is actively used by scammers to cover their tracks. Chat logs are best saved in the form of screenshots or videos, so that in the future no one will have questions about their authenticity. You may need all this information in the future in case of conflict situations in order to prove your rightness. For example, imagine that you, using the PayPal payment system, made a service to a person and received money for the complited work to your account. Everything seems to be fine? After some time, you may receive a letter to your e-mail address from PayPal with an approximate content: "The buyer %name% has opened a dispute. Your funds are blocked!". Your "client" has received the service from you and now wants to get his money back, leaving you with nothing. In this case, you will have to participate in the dispute and send proofs to PayPal that the customer is behaving dishonestly towards you. This is where previously prepared proofs of certain circumstances of the deal will come in handy!;

 

8 ) In particularly large deals, it makes sense to conclude a contract with the other party, according to which the other party can be held liable in the case of a conflict situation.

 

 

 

What can you do if you have been scammed:

 

1) You have lost money. Open a dispute on the basis of the payment system that you used to transfer funds to the contractor (if the system supports such functionality) or contact technical support. In the main language of the service, describe the situation in detail (What? Where? When?) and attach the relevant proofs (screenshots of chat logs, video materials, etc). When working through a bank, try to contact your bank for advice;

 

2) You have lost the results of work in the form of files. It probably makes sense to share these files in the public access, thereby reducing their value for an unscrupulous customer, who can get additional benefits from them. By doing so, you will also make contribute to the development of the community. Or find another, more honest customer;

 

3) Tell about your situation on the forum. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Your experience will show other people what not to do, and perhaps in the future someone will not fall into the same trap and avoid time and financial losses, and this is worth a lot. In addition, you will help identify unscrupulous community members;

 

4) Draw an appropriate conclusions and take the situation as a valuable experience. Negative, but the experience that will help you in doing business in the future. Don't obsess on bad luck - keep working on your project or business.

 

 

 

I hope the information above will help you avoid unpleasant situations. Thank you for attention!

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Very well written. To keep yourself safe, I always recommend writing a freelance agreement document or using a pre-made template and then ask the developer to digitally sign it prior to the commencement of work. Follow these easy steps and you should be safe and sound:

  • A freelance agreement covering all the details of the task and deadlines
  • Digitally sign the agreement
  • Keep screenshots of all the chats with the freelancer or use a platform that does not allow to alter the message once it's been sent
  • Always use PayPal (not friends/ family option), this way once you've paid the transaction and a tax, you're automatically eligible for customer protection. If PayPal is not an option, use a direct bank transfer (you need a receipt or transaction data to appeal), NEVER use cash or Western Union and such.

If neither of the above work, use platforms such a freelancer.com for your own safety 😀

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15 hours ago, champ said:

If neither of the above work, use platforms such a freelancer.net for your own safety 😀

Great tips! Just an issue, that website is non-existent or down? Were you trying to say ".com"?


Link to a lonely Facebook page on what could be an interesting upcoming server.

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21 hours ago, champ said:

Very well written. To keep yourself safe, I always recommend writing a freelance agreement document or using a pre-made template and then ask the developer to digitally sign it prior to the commencement of work. Follow these easy steps and you should be safe and sound:

  • A freelance agreement covering all the details of the task and deadlines
  • Digitally sign the agreement
  • Keep screenshots of all the chats with the freelancer or use a platform that does not allow to alter the message once it's been sent
  • Always use PayPal (not friends/ family option), this way once you've paid the transaction and a tax, you're automatically eligible for customer protection. If PayPal is not an option, use a direct bank transfer (you need a receipt or transaction data to appeal), NEVER use cash or Western Union and such.

If neither of the above work, use platforms such a freelancer.net for your own safety 😀

Hi. Yes, sorry - I meant “.com”.

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