#romancescams | Games people play, and scammers out to get them: Warning from NH AG’s office

CONCORD, NH — Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald is urging New Hampshire residents and, in particular, New Hampshire’s elderly residents, to be aware of scammers targeting personal information through the use of the popular, phone-based word game Words with Friends, and similar gaming applications

Words with Friends is a multiplayer word game “app,” available on almost all electronic platforms, in which players take turns building words in a crossword-style fashion, similar to the board game Scrabble. The app also allows players to communicate directly with one another.

The Words with Friends app has been downloaded by millions of users worldwide.

The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau and its Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit have received complaints related to individuals who have fallen victim to scams perpetrated through Words with Friends. Scammers utilize the app’s communication function to ask users a series of questions, in attempts to gain personal information that the scammers then use to exploit the individual. Scammers also pose as individuals seeking a personal or romantic connection and, like with other popular scams, urge the user to send gift cards, money, gold, and other valuable property to the scammers, often internationally. Scammers will also send harmful links and ask users to switch to other platforms that make it easier for the scammer to access the user’s
sensitive, personal information.

The Attorney General recommends New Hampshire residents using Words with Friends and all other gaming apps, to have heightened awareness and practice added vigilance while utilizing these gaming apps. The Attorney General recommends taking these steps to better protect yourself against these types of scams:

  • Play only with users actually known to you, such as family members and friends;
  • Do not provide your account password or other personal information or details to any other user, including known family and friends, through the app;
  • Do not click on any links sent to you through the app;
  • Do not engage in conversation through the app with anyone other than users known to you;
  • Do not accept invitations to leave the Words with Friends app and engage with any user on other electronic platforms;
  • Delete any users who are bothering you from your friends’ list; and
  • Use the app only for its intended purpose, and not as a way to form romantic connections.

There are numerous other scams seeking money or personal information. They include: Grandparents Scam, Romance/Sweetheart Scam, Home Improvement or Paving Scams, Lottery Scams, Utilities Scams, Charity Scams and others.

More information and resources are available at https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/consumer-alerts.htm

If you believe a vulnerable adult has fallen victim to a scam, please contact the Bureau of Elderly & Adult Services, at 1-800-949-0470; all calls are confidential.

New Hampshire consumers may file a formal complaint at http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm or by calling the Attorney General’s consumer information line at 1-888-468-4454.

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