Canadian teens are being targeted by sexual predators in the popular game Fortnite, according to reports from authorities.
Montreal-area police told the CBC that four cases of sextortion through Fortnite have been reported in the past few weeks. Three of the cases involved minors, and one victim sent photos.
The predator, according to the Richelieu Saint-Laurent police department, extorted the victims by infiltrating groups who played the game, and then offering to help them level up and get ahead in the game in exchange for explicit photos. They exchanged messages over Instagram.
One of the reasons Fortnite has become wildly popular with kids is that it’s free to download. There are loot and upgrades that cost money in the game to make it more personalized, but you don’t need these to play better, and they don’t give you an advantage. It’s unclear to Motherboard based on current reports as to how the predator promised to help their victims advance.
Fortnite has 8.3 million concurrent players—people playing the game at any given moment—making it more popular than any other game on Steam. Although its age rating is set at 12 years old and above, kids younger than that play the game, or at least know the dances and moves in the gameplay.
I’ve emailed Fortnite developer Epic Games for comment and will update if I hear back.