Sunday, March 2, 2014

How to recover your stolen Dota 2 items

You just signed into your Steam account, launched Dota 2, and, much to your surprise, found out that many of your items are missing. Save for a few trash common items, your inventory/armory has been emptied out! By now, you must already be feeling the anger and also the regret for all those times spent playing the game (and the occasional money you used up to instantly get hold of that much-desired rare item set). But fret not; there’s still a good chance to get back the items you’ve lost.

Steam Item Inventory

How to recover your stolen Dota 2 items

Before we proceed to that, we need to make sure if someone has really hacked into your account and made away with your legendary items, couriers, and whatnot. All players’ Steam accounts have an Inventory page where they can view all their collectibles from all games they’ve played (not just Dota 2). In there they can also check all previous trades and gift history (image above). Be it a friend or random stranger, you will find all players who you’ve recently made transactions with.

At this point, you now know who the thief who stole your Dota 2 items. You’re probably tempted to contact him/her yourself, but the likely outcome is that your messages will simply fall on deaf ears or you’ll get a response by a troll to piss you off even more. If you’re good enough with computers, you may even be able to learn this thief’s real identity and confront him in person if he happens to be in your hometown. It’s up to you, but I don’t think something as petty as Dota 2 larceny requires going through all the effort of physical confrontations.

The best thing to do to recover your stolen Dota 2 items is to actually contact Steam support and make your case. Before you submit your support ticket, make sure what you’ve written is descriptive and that you had participation in the theft whatsoever. Say you didn’t intentionally do anything that caused your account to become compromised. Also take a screenshot of the Inventory history and attach it to your ticket to add credibility to your claim.

Item Inventory History

Though it may take some time for the Steam support team to get back to you, they will still respond nonetheless. And once they’ve verified that your account was really hijacked, they will undo any item transfers so you can have your hard-earned Dota 2 items. (Note that getting scammed into trading items isn’t the same as getting your account hacked. Steam support won’t do anything if you were simply fooled into giving away your items voluntarily.)

The known policy is that Steam support will only perform this act of benevolence once for every account, so try your best not to get duped by hackers again. Here’s how:

How to prevent your Dota 2 items from getting stolen

Beware of scammers. The whole world now knows that Dota 2 can be a good source of money by means of the items. While some have gone legit by honest trading and submitting their own item designs at the workshop, some still prefer the dark path and exploiting the naïve Dota 2 players. There are a lot of ways to do the latter:

  • Creating a phishing site that looks exactly like the Steam website to fool users into entering their username/password combination. Phishing sites usually have URLs that are similar to the official ones. If they spell and read differently from the following, then they are sites to avoid:
    • steampowered.com
    • steamcommunity.com
  • Installing a keylogger at public computers frequented by Dota 2 players to learn their Steam IDs and passwords
  • Setting up incentives (like Dota 2 item giveaways/raffles) to tempt users into participating in their cause and eventually gain their account credentials

To prevent your account from getting hacked and your items from getting stolen, here are some precautionary measures you need to do:

  • Change your Steam password every now and then. Make sure it’s unique and long.
  • Make sure the passwords for your Steam and the email address you connected it with are different
  • Keep your Steam Guard always active for your account.
  • If you use multiple computers to launch Steam, perform a computer deauthorization from time to time
  • Never share your username/password with anyone (even if it’s a friend)
  • Make sure your secret question (used for account recovery) is complicated and has a hard-to-guess answer
  • Always be cautious of random friend and trade requests and Steam group invites
  • If you’ve received an email claiming to be from Steam, verify if it really is before clicking on any embedded links.
  • Scan your computer for malware
  • If you really need to use a public computer at an Internet café to play Dota 2, make sure there are no malware installed and that you log out your account once you’re done playing. Also wipe out the Internet browser data on that computer.
  • Only trade at credible 3rd-party websites, such as Dota2Lounge.com. Even then, always be cautious of players trying to fool you.

When all is really lost and you can’t get back your items anymore, too bad. At least you can learn from your mistakes and start from scratch with free Dota 2 items.