Twitch Money Laundering Scheme

Last month we reported on the devastating data leak which hit the Amazon-owned videogame streaming company, Twitch. Now Twitch is in the news again, this time due to the discovery of a huge money laundering scheme which was using the platform as its vehicle.

The money laundering scheme, which was first reported on by the folks at Middle East Eye, occurred in Turkey and involved sums of approximately $10 million. Ironically, the illegal activity was discovered due to the previous illegal activity in October — i.e., the data leak.

When the income figures were being analyzed, it became clear that certain streamers in Turkey were raking in incomes far beyond what was possible given their number of subscribers. This from PC Gamer’s Andy Chalk:

“Thieves would use stolen credit cards to purchase and donate large amounts of Bits to willing streamers, who would then refund the bulk of the donations into different accounts, keeping a small cut—reportedly 20-30%—for their trouble.”

In other words, a classic case of money laundering then. While investigations are ongoing into the extent of money laundering on sites such as Twitch, one thing’s for clear: these huge platforms are environments for leaks and cybercrime to thrive.

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