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Why Free Money Suddenly Showed Up In Some People's Steam Accounts

Late yesterday, a handful of Steam users suddenly found their Steam wallets flush with a small amount of fresh cash. They had no idea why. Given that Steam is no stranger to scams, hacks, and account hijackings, they suspected foul play. Fortunately, it seems like there’s nothing to worry about.

It began with Steam users receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 gifted to their Steam wallets with no explanation. It came from “Valve Mastercard,” which some users took to be official Valve tender, while others raised a skeptical eyebrow. It appeared to be a refund, but if that was the case, why would Valve do it in such a roundabout way? Some users cited a scam they’d heard about that was similar and held off on spending the money.

Hours later, however, people began reporting that they’d received emails from Valve confirming that, yes, Valve was actually pulling the strings on this one. In short, Valve failed to apply a loyalty discount to Steam’s Dark Souls III + Steam Controller bundle for some eligible users, so they decided to retroactively make up the difference. Pretty cool of them!

However, people’s initial reaction speaks to the general uncertainty surrounding Steam’s security protocols, a feeling that’s only bolstered by a lack of timely communication. It says something about a platform when your first reaction to receiving free money from the platform’s creator isn’t, “Rad! Free money!” It doesn’t help that Valve’s had multiple high profile malfunctions and breaches lately. But then, that’s also kinda just the internet these days. You can’t really take anything at face value.

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know.

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