Multiple board game publishers fall prey to scammers impersonating 80,000 member board game Facebook group

Update 9/7/24 – CrowD Games marketing director Serge Sintsov confirmed to BoardGameWire that the company has now managed to cancel delivery, and the game is on the way back to its warehouse.

Scammers impersonating a Facebook group and community with tens of thousands of members have managed to con multiple tabletop publishers into sending them review copies of their latest games.

Renegade Games Studios and CrowD Games were both fooled into sending games to the fraudsters, who claimed to be Board Game Revolution social media manager and marketing co-ordinator Thomas Covert.

The scammers used a fake email address to contact a string of publishers, claiming BGR – which runs a 30,000-member promotions-focused Facebook page and separate 82,000 member ‘community’ page – had decided to experiment with branching out into reviews.

The real Thomas Covert quickly alerted his contacts within the industry when he discovered he was being impersonated, although his warning did not come soon enough to stop Renegade sending “several games” to the scammers, or CrowD posting the fraudsters a copy of Bestiary of Sigillum: Collector’s Edition.

CrowD marketing director Serge Sintsov told BoardGameWire he received an email he believed was from the real Thomas Covert on June 27 asking about collaborations.

He said, “I know Thomas and I know the BGR community, so I only asked him about examples of reviews and he answered that it’s a new idea and so on.

“I’m on a very high workload with our upcoming Kickstarter campaign now, so I decided to send him one box and then look at the results.”

Devir Americas managing partner Matt Hyland told BoardGameWire his company had been approached for copies of new games Sand and Salton Sea, and said it was just good fortune that they did not send the games out before the real Thomas Covert raised the alarm about the fraud.

Sand from Devir Games

He said, “Thankfully the original request fell through the cracks and we didn’t send the games on the first go-round. Then we halted the shipment after learning about the scam.

Hyland added that to his knowledge, Devir had not been targeted with any similar scams before – but said that “frankly it could have happened without our realizing it”.

Gamelyn Games and Daily Magic Games were also among publishers targeted by the scam. Daily Magic partner David Mackenzie told BoardGameWire his company “probably would have” sent review copies if the grift had not been uncovered for another few days.

He added that Daily Magic was also currently facing its own case of imposter syndrome online, with a fake Instagram account based in Nigeria impersonating the real company in order to contact reviewers and other publishers, most likely to gain access to personal and business checking accounts.

Covert told BoardGameWire he had now hired a private investigator to track some of the packages, which were sent to multiple addresses in California, Louisiana and Florida.

He said, “If we catch them we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, as this is not only identity theft but now involves mail fraud.”

Any other publishers who believe they may have been affected should contact Covert through the official BGR email listed here.

6 Comments

  1. This bums me out. I wish they hadn’t had caught it. Thomas Covert is a horrible power hunger control freak who feigns mental illness to justify is horrible behavior towards people. Hopefully next time they get scammed real good.

    • You clearly don’t know me and are spewing lies. These scammers are hurting the publishers not me.

    • As someone who’s recently gotten to know Thomas, I feel obliged to defend him against statements like this. Thomas works incredibly hard to foster one of the great gaming communities I’ve ever been a part of. He’s helped me fall in love with the hobby by doing so. Thomas is a staunch advocate of the gaming community, particularly hobbyists and isn’t afraid to speak his mind – this should be celebrated, not condemned. I’d recommend you take a look in the mirror and reflect on why you feel the need to damn someone publicly when you clearly do not know them because in my mind, it makes you a small minded person. To defend scam artists in any way is sickening. Peace.

    • I know Thomas for a long time, so I’m at ease to speak about him.

      His hard work, determination and love for the community isn’t easily matched. He does a lot and works a lot, and he’s responsible for creating one of the biggest online communities in the boardgaming hobby.

      I have nothing but respect and admiration for him, and as far as I know, he doesn’t feigns anything. You should take those words back, as that’s a serious and false accusation.

  2. Wow! So you are happy for hard working game publishers to be scammed just because you have an “opinion” about someone. What a horrible take!

    Also, I believe what you have written could be construed as defamation.

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