Valve tries to curb Steam scam accounts with new rule

Gaming corporation Valve is trying to make spammers’ and phishers’ lives more difficult and, consequently, their own users’ gaming experience more pleasant and safer by limiting the things account owners can do until they have spent a set amount of money.

“Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity. Due to this being a common scenario we have decided to restrict certain community features until an account has met or exceeded $5.00 USD in Steam,” the company has explained.

Until an account owner spends at least $5.00 within the Steam store or adds a Steam Wallet card to the account, he or she won’t be able to do things like send invites, use browser and mobile chat, opening group chats, participate in the Steam Market, vote on Greenlight games, Steam Reviews and Workshop items, post frequently in the Steam Discussions, submit content on the Steam Workshop, and more.

The move should affect many gamers, as chances are good they have bought and played a game at one time or another, and have passed that limit already.

Actions that will not grant users (and scammers) access to the full list of (Community) features are: playing free demos, playing promotional trials, activating a retail game on Steam, activating promotional CD Keys from hardware or graphic card manufacturers, activating games received as a gift or via Steam Trading.

The company has also closed a few other potential loopholes, such as purchasing a game for $5 USD and then open a dispute with the bank in order to get back the money.

Technically, these changes are a great idea: Valve gets to be seen to protecting users and will (hopefully) decrease the number of scammy accounts, and will earn money from scammers who choose to pay up.

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