Washington Post

Turkish police detain 40 people over Twitch streamer money laundering scheme

Turkish police detained 40 people last week in relation to an alleged money laundering scheme perpetrated on the streaming platform Twitch, the latest instance of a video game ecosystem being appropriated for purposes of fraud.

Streamingtjenesten Twitch. Foto: Strf/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

With over 9 million user-created channels, Twitch does not lack for nooks and crannies in which unsavory sorts - harassers, spammers and scammers - can hide. (The platform is owned by Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.) Late last year, this became especially apparent when users mined payout data from an October 2021 Twitch hack and uncovered evidence of a Turkish money laundering ring that went through smaller, less visible streamers. Scammers would use stolen credit cards to donate Bits - a proprietary Twitch currency purchasable with real money - to streamers, who would in turn get paid in real money by Twitch and then return a substantial sum to scammers, while also pocketing a portion themselves.

Daily Sabah, a pro-government newspaper in Turkey, published a report on the law enforcement response last week, saying it was the culmination of operations in 11 of Turkey's 81 provinces. Speaking to another Turkish publication, Sakinca, Turkish politician Gursel Tekin provided additional details...

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