The community team over at teh official SWTOR forums, have issued a warning about an ongoing Beta Scam for Star Wars: The old republic:
It has come to our attention that there are multiple individuals and sites claiming to sell testing accounts, “beta keys,” or other offers of access to our Game Testing Program. All of these offers are false. BioWare is not issuing invites to Game Testing via any method other than those we outline here on SWTOR.com.
We must caution you that these offers are often scams designed to steal your money, credit card information, or identity. While we understand that you are eager to participate in Game Testing, your security is extremely important, and attempting to participate in these offers could put you in very real danger.
Furthermore, the sale of accounts with access to the Game Testing Program is strictly prohibited by the Game Testing Agreement. We closely monitor the activities of all accounts involved in the Game Testing Program, and are quick to notice accounts that change hands. In the event that an account in the Game Testing Program does change ownership, we immediately take action to the fullest extent possible, including permanently banning the account from the Service.
You may also encounter e-mail scams that indicate you have been invited to the Game Testing Program. If you are invited to the real Game Testing Program, you will receive an e-mail with instructions from firstname.lastname@example.org. Any other e-mail address claiming to offer an invitation is likely to be a scam. If you receive an e-mail and are in doubt or are concerned about its validity, please forward your concerns to email@example.com. If you do receive a genuine testing invitation from us, you will also be able to view the invitation and testing information atwww.swtor.com/tester.
Community Coordinator David Bass has also sent out an email to fansites and guilds explaining The situation:
“If you are invited to the real Game Testing Program, you will receive an e-mail with instructions from firstname.lastname@example.org. Any other e-mail address claiming to offer an invitation is likely to be a scam. If you receive an e-mail and are in doubt or are concerned about its validity, please forward your concerns to email@example.com. If you do receive a genuine testing invitation from us, you will also be able to view the invitation and testing information at www.swtor.com/tester.”
It always surprises me that people apparently fall for scams like those the post warns about. But apparently people do or I wouldn’t be getting that constant stream of WoW “please give us your account information” emails (and I don’t even play WoW). Always be extra careful checking what site an email is actually sending you to; scam sites can be very good as pretending that they’re the real site, but there will always be some anomaly in the url they’re sending you to (try and spot the mistake in “www.starwarstheoldrepubIic.com“; hint, it’s more obvious in a different font).
Also, despite the message above saying that you should check that the email is from “firstname.lastname@example.org”, be aware that it’s really easy for scammers to fake where they’re sending emails from and appear as if they’re sending email from just that address (it’s called “spoofing”; in fact, I’m amazed that BioWare would even suggest that as a way to check the authenticity of emails). The only sure way is to manually enter the address for their tester website as the message above suggests.
Always be careful with your passwords and your personal details (unless your name is Gabe Newell and you’re giving everyone your login details to prove how secure your new Steam Guard feature is). And make sure that you’ve got unique passwords for everything (instead of one password that you use for everything because when that one gets out all your accounts are suddenly at risk).