So you’ve developed and released a new game and the next moment, you receive an email going along the lines of –

So you jump into the air with joy thinking that you’ve captured the attention of the popular gaming website – Giant Bomb – and that gamers all over the universe are going to know your game. You start hallucinating about the dream home you will buy with money you will earn from your game and start prepping yourself for imaginary interviews.

Without thinking you send over 4 Steam keys and even ask if they need more.

And before you can say ‘what happened?’ you find your game being sold on G2A for half price. But wait a minute, you’ve never distributed your game there!

Congratulations, you’ve just fallen victim to a key thief!

Fortunately, there are some ways to sniff out one of these sneaky lowlifes, so here goes.

Double Check The Emails

Visit the Youtube or Twitch channels the person provided and go straight to the About section. See if the email listed there matches the one being used to correspond with you. Scammers usually create close enough emails with very slight differences, so you have to look really closely. If the emails are different there’s a high chance that this is a key thief. To be very sure I would suggest emailing the real Mc Coy and asking if he did indeed send you a mail using another email address.

Bad English

Notice that the person who sent the email above writes really really bad Engrish? Many of these scam artists are from countries that speak very little English, hence they also write very badly. They know this and in order to alleviate this concern you may have, sometimes they will pretend to be from non-English speaking countries. On the other hand, I have also received emails from scammers who write beautiful English. So while it is not guaranteed that somebody who writes bad English is definitely a scammer, just count this one as a potential red flag, especially since this one was pretending to be from Giant Bomb.

Asking For Several Game Keys

A dead giveaway that tells me almost immediately that the person is a key thief without even double-checking the emails is when he asks me for a few keys. 90% of the genuine reviewers who write in to me asks for just 1 game key for them to do their review. The other 10% may own a forum, a website or some kind of channel which they can conduct some kind of giveaway game., hence asking for more keys is reasonable. Key thieves have none of those and they just want the extra game keys so that they can sell them off on G2A or some other dodgy sites.