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

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 neighbourhood of $US5 ($6) 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 sceptical 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.

Gift money image from Shutterstock


    It's not just Steam but my reaction for anything when theres free money involved is "whats the catch".

      I was genuinely surprised and suspicious when I found out I'd won that Steam sale lottery a few years back that gifted you with copies of your top 10 wishlisted games.

      But the gifts were all there and worked and there was a follow-up mail from the CM, so yeah... it all checked out.

      Meanwhile, the forums were ablaze with posters complaining that they hadn't won the jackpot and thus the jackpot didn't exist and DEMANDING that Steam announce the usernames of the winners... so that people could harass them.

      I considered defending Valve/Steam by posting some screenshots, but eventually decided, "Fuck exposing myself to THAT jealousy shit."

      Smart man.

      Always remember: "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is"

    I don't think it's a dig at Valve at all. Normal, rational people know that if credits randomly turn up into any account there will more than likely be ramifications if you just yolo and spend it.

    I think this is a testament to the userbase not being complete morons by spending it and then crying that the host is trying to recoup the spent $5 which shouldn't have been there in the first place.

    I feel that this article is drawing an unfair and borderline disgraceful connection with this statement:
    "It says something about a platform when your first reaction to receiving free money from the platform’s creator isn’t, “Rad! Free money!"

    What would you think if money appeared in your itunes account? Bank account? Paypal Account? Origin Account? XBL account? PS account?
    If your answer is Rad! Free money!, I feel bad for you.

    Last edited 21/04/16 11:39 am

      There is a difference between thinking "rad! Free money!" and actually spending it.

      While that would be my first thought, my second would be "I hope I get to keep it" :P

        Fair point, In my mind I've bundled the two together because I'd always assume it's a glitch across the board. I can see how the two are separate though.

    I had a free game appear? No joke at all. Logged on today and a small game, "No Time To Explain Remastered" is suddenly there? Anyone else have this? Haven't family shared or bought anything. Strange.

      Its a gift from being in the early access for Speed Runners which just came out of early access today.

        holy shit, it's about time.

          It's ok, when DAYZ gets out of early access, I'm expecting them to fully fund my college experience lol

        Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! That explains it! Awwwwww thats awful nice of them! It's a neat game too! Both Speedrunners and this one!

    This article is a scam. Its just people acting rationally, not a overwhelming mistrust of Steam.

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