As most of us know, the Nintendo Switch is so highly sought after right now, that the only reliable way to get one is to hunt one down on Amazon and pay a premium. Nintendo has also (unsurprisingly) even run into issues with their stock of the modular and highly mobile console, thus causing problems with keeping up with consumer demand. With this being the case, it now seems that some unscrupulous characters (i.e. hackers) have been working to take advantage of some consumers who haven’t yet purchased their own devices. This has been so prevalent, it seems, that the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken notice of these issues, and has issued an official warning for those who want to be able to play games that are only available on Nintendo’s newest device. Beware of anything claiming to be an emulator.
In a statement posted on their website on Wednesday, April 18th, the FTC warned against relying on emulators which would let gamers experience Nintendo Switch games. In plain English, the agency simply states, “there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam.”
“Even worse, when you try to download a Nintendo Switch emulator, you can install unwanted applications on your computer”, the post continues. “These apps give you misleading information about computer problems that aren’t really there, then ask you to pay to fix them.” The United States’ consumer watchdog agency also warned against filling out any surveys prior to downloading the alleged emulator, as they will ask for personal information. Of course, most of us know how bad of an idea it is to give out personal info on a website, as that can be stolen and used to cause all kinds of havoc in one’s life.
For any of you who might not be aware, scams like this are known as “phishing“. These scams involve the use of fake emails & copycat websites, which are designed to trick the unwary into revealing valuable personal information. This kind of information can include things like bank account numbers, social security numbers, login IDs and passwords, and credit card information. The individuals who perpetrate these scams will then use that information to steal money, identities, etc.
There are, however, a few steps that one can take to protect themselves from phishing scams, and issues like the ones laid out by the FTC regarding the fraudulent Nintendo Switch emulators. These steps are simple, and will help consumers better protect themselves:
- First and foremost, don’t download anything that says it’s a Nintendo Switch emulator. They do not exist right now.
- Never complete a survey to get an “unlock code”, as those are almost always red flags for scams.
- Set your security /anitivirus software to update automatically. Keeping that up to date will help you avoid downloading any malware.
- If you really need to play Nintendo Switch games, find a friend who has one, and see if you can play on their system until you’re able to get a legitimate console for yourself.
- If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam like this, make sure to file a report with the FTC via their website.
Is it possible that someone will come up with a legitimate Nintendo Switch emulator sometime in the future? Of course it is. Until that time, however, gamers should avoid anything claiming to be that software.
We here at PCU are always trying to look out for scams and shenanigans like this in our entire purview. We’ll definitely keep all of our readers posted if/when a real emulator is ever created. In the meantime, however, we want you all to be safe with your downloads & online activity.
Have you ever been the victim of scams like this? Let us know your story in the comments below!