As of today, a website that promised users beta codes to the yet-to-be-announced “Modern Warfare 4” has been taken down.
The website went offline only after news of the scam, which operated on the domain name ModernWarfare4Beta.com, spread across the internet in the past 24 hours.
A YouTube video apology posted earlier by Sn4gamers “claims” they hired a third-party to help grow their Facebook page, but were unknowingly victims of a scam themselves.
Being a victim seems somewhat questionable, since the Facebook message stayed online for days before being deleted.
The good news is, the site is now offline.
The scam involved promising beta codes to “Modern Warfare 4” if users posted a link to the site to other game pages on Facebook, including the official Call of Duty Facebook page, which has more than 1 million likes.
You can see screenshots of the fake beta site here and get an idea of what unsuspecting people encountered when visiting the page, now that nothing but an error page appears online.
Sn4gamers also deleted a Facebook post encouraging users to visit the site and download the MW4 beta code.
This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last time a fake beta website crops up online.
Just last year, Microsoft took control of the domain names Halo4Beta.biz and Halo4Beta.net, after filing complaints against their owners.
In January 2013, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc, filed several domain complaints against the owners of Grand Theft Auto V beta domain names.
The domain getgtavbeta.com has already been ordered transferred to Take-Two, while three other cases are pending that involve gtavbeta.org, betagtav.com and gtavbeta.net.
UPDATE 2 – March 5, 2013 – The WHOIS record has been updated from this to this.
UPDATE 1 – March 4, 2013 – The home page of ModernWarfare4beta.com now displays the video explanation that was uploaded to YouTube.
There never seems to be a shortage of scams online.
As speculation grows that Activision’s next installment in the Call of Duty series will be “Modern Warfare 4”, the number of fake sites will grow that prey on people hoping to get an invite to the beta version of the game.
This week, the so-called “social network 4 gamers” website that goes by the shortened name “Sn4gamerrs”, launched a fake Modern Warfare 4 Beta website on the matching domain name: ModernWarfare4Beta.com.
The fake Beta site has been set up to do nothing more than deceive users and drive up Sn4gamers’s Facebook likes and views on their other social networking accounts.
A link was posted Friday to their Facebook page (which has since been deleted) telling people they could download the free MW4 code.
ModernWarfare4Beta.com was registered this month to a Rhode Island resident according to WHOIS records, not to Activision Publishing.
When you enter the fake web site, you are instructed to follow 3 easy steps in order to download the code, as shown in the screen shot below. As you can see from the instructions, the goal is to trick unsuspecting users into spreading the information on social networks.
When you scroll to the bottom of the page, a message warns you that you must complete all steps before getting your “code”, but of course, there’s no need.
If you click the link at the very bottom of the web page that says, “Click Here to Get Your Free MW4 Beta”, a new web page appears that allows you to choose a platform.
The scam by Sn4gamers continues on with a fake code and then finishes off, laughably enough, with Sn4gamers asking people to take a survey because, “…it’s the least you can do to support us so we can continue to give out free betas.”
Despite the obvious and absurd claims by many scams, fake Beta sites continue to be a problem and people continue to be duped.
In the case of the fake MW4 beta site, using “Modern Warfare 4” in the domain name is a desperate attempt to trick and confuse even more visitors.
The company doesn’t own ModernWarfare4.com. I spoke to the owner of the web address in 2011 by email, who made headlines in 2009 after launching a website that threatened to hurt a clown if the game development studio behind Modern Warfare, didn’t play ball the ransom demands.
UPDATE 1 March 4, 2013 6:29PM EST – It appears the folks behind ModernWarfare4Beta.com, have gotten the message, after a number of news outlets and gaming blogs picked up this story. The fake beta site was taken down in the past hour and a blank WordPress blog now appears on the home page.