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In the last week or so, an interesting situation has popped up in console land as scammers continue to exploit trusted names in the gaming industry.

A video for the multiplayer of upcoming title “Call of Duty: Black Ops” displayed ingame footage, and (of course) the usernames of the developers taking part.

Where this gets interesting is that the footage itself isn’t from the XBox Live network – it takes place on something called PartnerNet, which is where Betas are usually tested. As PartnerNet stands alone from XBox Live (in the sense that it is a Developer only network, not taking place on the “main” XBox Live network) you can create any username you want while playing the game even if that name has been registered by another user on XBox Live.

The flipside is that any usernames seen in a video such as the one above may not exist yet on XBox Live, and so could be registered by a scammer to do bad deeds.

You can see where this is going, right?

Reports started to spring up that an individual using a name from the above video (“DJVahn”) was now on XBox Live claiming to be a Treyarch developer. From the forum posts we’ve seen, it appears they were offering up “Beta access” in return for Paypal funds. Checking out the DJVahn account on XBox Live shows it is now flagged as being in Code of Conduct violation:


This isn’t the first time game developers have been impersonated on XBox Live, and it won’t be the last. NEVER hand over login details to anyone you encounter in gaming sessions, or through random messages sent your way. Information displayed on profiles can be tampered with, scammers have found ways to change gamertags in gaming sessions and phishes sent by direct message are as popular as ever.

Christopher Boyd