INDIANAPOLIS — The FBI is warning online gamers to be very cautious when checking out so-called “play-to-earn” games.

Authorities say the makers of some online games and apps use sneaky ways to steal your money with malware you didn’t even know you downloaded.  

According to the FBI warning, criminals will contact online gamers and develop a relationship over time. At some point, they will encourage the person to check out a new game where you can earn cryptocurrency by playing. Supposedly, you earn the money by doing activities like growing crops on a virtual farm. 

Of course, you have to pay to play by creating a cryptocurrency wallet and adding funds to it. While you are tending to your crops and watching rewards add up, the scammer will drain your wallet dry using malware you unknowingly downloaded and activated when you joined.

To reclaim your missing money, the scammer will tell you to pay additional taxes or fees. However, that doesn’t work. You’re just losing more money.

If you want to play crypto-based games, the FBI says you should create a unique wallet to use for the game, keeping it separate from any other cryptocurrency holdings you may have. You can also use a third-party allowance checker to show you which apps or sites you have inadvertently given access to your wallet.

If all this sounds overly complicated, and you want to be really safe, you can stay away from these types of games altogether. 

The FBI requests victims report these types of fraudulent or suspicious activities to its Internet Crime Complaint Center.