CFPB Report Identifies Financial and Privacy Risks to Consumers in Video Gaming Marketplaces – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Growth in banking options and payments in gaming leaves consumers’ assets and personal data at risk
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report examining the growth of financial transactions in online video games and virtual worlds. These platforms increasingly resemble traditional banking and payment systems that facilitate the storage and exchange of billions of dollars in assets, including virtual currencies. However, consumers report being harmed by scams or theft on gaming platforms and not receiving the protections they would expect under federal law. The CFPB will be monitoring markets where financial products and services are offered, including video games and virtual worlds, to ensure compliance with federal consumer financial protection laws.
“Americans of all ages are converting billions of dollars into currencies used on virtual reality and gaming platforms,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “As more banking and payments activity takes place in video games and virtual worlds, the CFPB is looking at ways to protect consumers from fraud and scams.”
The report, Banking in Video Games and Virtual Worlds, looks at the growing use and scale of these assets across the gaming industry, the associated risks to consumers, and the evolution of games and virtual worlds into online marketplaces. American consumers spent nearly $57 billion on gaming in 2023, including on hardware, software, and in-game transactions such as converting dollars to virtual currencies or other gaming assets. These assets are often bought, sold, or traded in virtual markets that allow gaming companies to replicate everyday activities online, including financial payments.
The report identifies a number of trends and risks associated with gaming assets, including:
The CFPB has received consumer complaints about hacking attempts, account theft, and lost access to gaming assets. In the complaints, most consumers report receiving limited support from the gaming companies, such as reimbursements or security improvements. Existing consumer protection laws apply to banking and payment systems that facilitate the storage and exchange of valuable assets. The CFPB is monitoring markets where financial products and services may be offered, including video games and virtual worlds.
Read the report, Banking in video games and virtual worlds.
Read Director Chopra’s statement on the report.
Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
Employees of companies who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to whistleblower@cfpb.gov.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.
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