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A user named 'steamfairy1' gifted me a game on Steam. I don't know this user, his profile shows no games, no friends and zero hours played. The profile of 'steamfairy1' was created the day I received the gift.

It very much looks like a scam, but I can't figure out how the scam is supposed to work. What's the worst thing that could happen if I accept the gift? Any idea what the trick here is? It could be just a random act of kindness and I'm just paranoid…

I contacted the Steam support, but they were unhelpful as usual: responding in the wrong language and with a canned one-liner that didn't make a whole lot of sense or had much to do with my question.

Keywords (not really tags, but I want this to be searchable): steamfairy, steam fairy

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Which game? More importantly, is it a game you have expressed interest in? Could one of your friends be trying to surprise you? I can't think of any danger in accepting the game (that doesn't mean there isn't any, but I can't think of any.) –  Chris Phillips May 15 '12 at 21:55
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@Tacroy, I believe that "owning" a game that was bought with a stolen credit card can net you problems... I think I read it somewhere but I'm not sure –  jmfsg May 15 '12 at 22:05
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@JuanManuel Huh good point. If it's the first infringement I think Valve would probably just delete the game though, especially since Cort contacted support about it. –  Tacroy May 15 '12 at 22:15
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@ChrisPhillips It is indeed the top game on my wishlist. My profile is friends-visible only, I'm not sure if there's a way to still see my wishlist. –  Cort May 16 '12 at 9:46
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@Kotsu I see. The last part is interesting, though: where/when/why do people refer to anonymous givers as "steam fairies"? I've never seen that before. –  Cort May 17 '12 at 7:29

1 Answer 1

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I dug through the relevant support pages and found some information for you.

Short version: Don't accept things you weren't expecting from people you don't know.


Long version:

The Steam Support page on trading and gifts says...

[...] a gift sent to your account has been revoked. The most common reasons this will occur are:

  • There has been a purchase error with the game you were gifted
  • The purchaser has filed a dispute over the purchase
  • The gift purchase was made using a fraudulent payment method

If you believe there has been an error, please contact the person who sent this gift.

The subscription to the gifted game is no longer valid. If you wish to continue playing the game without losing any game progress, you will need to purchase the game through Steam.

Warning: Never accept a gift from someone you do not know.

Meanwhile, a few pages away...

Redeeming Fraudulent Gifts

Never accept a gift from an unknown user. Any accounts tied to a redeemed gift from a fraudulent source may be suspended.

In summary: You can either lose the game you were gifted, or possibly your account, depending on the whim of the Steam Gods handling your case. Expect the worst, because they tell you clearly in both areas don't accept things you weren't expecting from people you don't know.

Ask the person trying to gift or trade you the game to identify themselves, and reject the gift if anything seems suspicious. Better to lose a "free" game than your account, ne? If it turns out to be a friend or just someone who feels like gifting you stuff, ask them to send it through their real account, instead.

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I very much doubt Steam would ban a paying customer for their own failure to secure the platform. Especially when that information is in a FAQ, which means it may as well not exist for 95% of people. –  kotekzot May 16 '12 at 19:25
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@kotekzot ...what? If you steal from a store, then offload the stuff you stole onto others, that doesn't mean the other people get to keep the stuff. A good example is here: slpl.lib.mo.us/cco/code/data/t1566.htm You have to have a reasonable belief that it wasn't stolen, and a day-one account with no profile suddenly gifting you a game should send up all sorts of red flags. –  Xkeeper May 16 '12 at 20:22
    
I never claimed they would get to keep the stuff. Also, where did the "day-one account" thing come from? –  kotekzot May 17 '12 at 5:53
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Thanks for the research. Yeah, I'm also not so convinced that Steam would spare my account over this. As much as I love Steam, they don't exactly have a track record of not screwing with their customers. And to be honest, in this case I even agree with them: no mercy for pirates and scammers. I think I'll follow your advice and reject the gift, no point in losing my 200+ games account over this. –  Cort May 17 '12 at 7:34
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@kotekzot From the first paragraph of the question: "The profile was created the day I received the gift." –  Xkeeper May 17 '12 at 15:01

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