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Wave of Elder Scrolls Online deactivations hit today as Bethesda kills stolen game keys

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Bethesda is cracking down on the sale of "fraudulently obtained digital game keys" for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and plans to deactivate all game accounts created with stolen keys starting today, according to the game's official site.

The keys being deactivated were typically obtained via Steam with stolen credit cards or through other fraudulent means and then re-sold through third-party websites, according to community manager Jason Leavey.

"We want to remind gamers to shop wisely and only purchase online keys from a reputable source," he wrote in the forums. "Fraudulently obtained keys obtained via Steam and then re-sold via third-party websites is a violation of both our and Steam's Terms of Service. We will be deactivating all game accounts created with such stolen keys starting on Tuesday, May 26th. Affected users will receive an email with instructions on how to regain access to their game account via a valid game purchase."

Typically, these fraudulent codes are sold much lower then the asking price, according to the post.

"Extreme discounting below the published prices on our website may be a clue that the digital key purchased for the game may have been fraudulently obtained," Leavey wrote. "We want to ensure that you have the best game experience possible."

The warning post also includes a list of reputable digital storefronts where you can buy authentic keys for the game.