According to a new report, people in Huntington Beach, California are posing as "Pokémon GO Safety Patrol" and are walking around to players in the park handing out what are believed to be fraudulent citations. Among other safety measures that players should be on the lookout for, it's now recommended that they keep an eye out for individuals attempting to perhaps take advantage of unsuspecting players of the game. Shortly after the Pokémon GO launch in the U.S., a report surfaced that warned Android users about downloading a hacked version of the game's APK file which contained malware, which could allow hackers to potentially get a hold of personal and sensitive information.
While not attempting to hack players through malware infected apps, the individuals handing out the fake citations were reported to be asking players to sign a form which requested personal information like drivers license and social security number, which suggests that they may have simply been trying to get a hold of people's personal information for any number of purposes. This was in addition to the people posing as the safety patrol asking players to delete the game off of their phones. The citation also mentioned that if players did not comply that they could have their phone confiscated and they could be met with a fine of up to $22,000. The fine in question would potentially be imposed on offending players for "being a nuisance" in a public area.
According to KTLA 5 who was reporting on the incident, at least one person may have signed the citation as requested by the two individuals who were walking around the park seemingly targeting multiple players. While there has so far been no formal complaints placed with the Huntington Beach Police Department, this incident simply displays that players really need to be more aware of their surroundings, as the game suggests upon booting it up. Pokémon GO is only available in some parts around the globe which includes the U.S., Canada, and a handful of countries in Europe. Companies like Japan have yet to see the launch of the game, although the Japanese government has used this time to set up and distribute fliers which request players stick to a certain list of guidelines when playing that are meant to ensure public safety and cyber security.