Grand Theft Auto V is out in September, and Rockstar’s long in the works opus will likely be the swan song for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and act as one last epic before the first round of HD consoles ride off into the sunset. Everyone wants this game to come out, from Take-Two Interactive’s anxious shareholders to the series’ legion of adoring fans. Hence why it’s been so lucrative for actual criminals to profit off the game well before it even comes out by scamming people into thinking they’re getting early access to GTA5.
A number of less than scrupulous individuals are opening websites purporting to have Grand Theft Auto V beta keys, codes giving access to an early version of the game. UK citizen Carl Wright, for example, was hosting a website for a group legally called LCN.COM Ltd. who were until February hosting a website called getgtavbeta.com. Rockstar Games won the support of the World Intellectual Property Organization in shutting it down, as well as a second website called betagtav.com, but the studio is still fighting to take down others including gtavbeta.net, gtadownloadsecure.com, and gtavbeta.org.
These scams work by first asking people to spread the website’s info through Facebook, by sharing a link, liking the website on the social network, and sharing a message five times. After doing that, the websites offer a link asking which console you use, then a malicious file is downloaded to your computer.
It doesn’t matter that Rockstar Games has never publicly discussed a beta for the game or that the official website for the game has absolutely no mention of public testing for its online modes. People have still signed up for these scams. The GTA 5 Beta Facebook page has nearly 1400 likes, and that’s just one of the many scams associated with the game.
As of this writing, no one outside of Rockstar Games has even played the new Grand Theft Auto. Save for a blow out cover story on the game in the December issue of Game Informer magazine, Rockstar has kept its game under lock and key. The delay of the game has already caused financial strain on parent company Take-Two Interactive.