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Scammers Try to Cash In on Pokemon Go With Threat of $12.99 Paid Version

The immense popularity of Pokemon Go has inspired yet another scam: Emails are asking players to open their wallets for a paid version. “We regret to inform you that due to the overwhelming response to our new Pokémon Go app and the need for more powerful servers we can no longer afford to keep your account as free,” the email reads.

Users are advised that they have to upgrade to a paid version that will cost $12.99 per month. “Your account will be frozen in 24 hours if you do not upgrade,” the email continues.

However, Pokemon Go players can relax: The email is not real. Pokemon Go does offer in-app purchases for users looking to acquire virtual goods without having to visit real-world locations, but no plans for a paid version have been announced.

What’s more, the scam email comes from a domain not associated with Ninatic Labs, the San Francisco-based company behind Pokemon Go. Links in the email don’t point to Google’s or Apple’s app stores, but third-party servers. And users who do click through aren’t actually offered any paid software, but instead asked to authenticate in an attempt to steal credentials from major email providers.

This isn’t the first time Pokemon Go has inspired scammers to take advantage of gullible users. Soon after the launch of the game last week, third-party app stores started to list a version of the app that was capable of taking control of users’ phones.

A number of users in Europe and elsewhere have been relying on these third-party app stores to access Pokemon Go, which to date is only officially available in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Niantic Labs has said that it wants to extend access to Europe and Asia in the coming days, but the company briefly put the brakes on a global roll-out this weekend when millions of players overloaded its servers.

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