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BLAM! Valve slams brakes on Steam flimflam with $5 spam scram plan

Phishy players face feature restrictions

Video-gaming kingpin Valve has promised to do a better job of protecting its subscribers from dollops of spam, by applying a $5 limit on user accounts before unlocking a number of key features.

The company explained the new strategy in a post on its support forum.

It said that features – including friend invites, group chat, reviews, marketplace participation and access to the Steam Web API – would all be restricted on accounts where users have made zilch purchases.

Valve added:

We've chosen to limit access to these features as a means of protecting our customers from those who abuse Steam for purposes such as spamming and phishing.

Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity.

Due to this being a common scenario we have decided to restrict certain community features until an account has met or exceeded $5 USD in Steam.

Valve was quick to point out that it apparently isn't all that easy to game the system, either.

Activating a retail game on Steam or inputting promo keys from hardware or graphic card vendors won't, for example, unlock access to the major functions that the service has to offer its legit users.

Spammers and phishy folk have basically been put on notice: shell out $5 or scram. ®

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