PC gaming site Steam is banking on the fact that most spammers and those who go phishing for nefarious purposes aren't willing to spend a few bucks to try and scam online gamers.
That's why Valve now requires Steam members to pay $5, or have at least $5 in their account, to keep access to certain features, including sending invites, opening a group chat, voting on reviews, posting regularly on discussions and using browser and mobile chat.
"We've chosen to limit access to these features as a means of protecting our customers from those who abuse Steam for purposes such as spamming and phishing. Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts, which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do," explains Steam in a note to members. Steam compares spending habits of users to try and decipher the malicious elements and it seems the negative elements typically don't spend any money at Steam.
"Due to this being a common scenario we have decided to restrict certain community features until an account has met or exceeded $5 USD in Steam," states the explanation. For most Steam users it's not a huge deal as Steam is a game playing and game buying site so most users are spending more than $5 on a regular basis.
The $5 investment can be spent in various ways, within the Steam store, adding it to the Steam Wallet, or buying a Steam gift.
The list of restricted community features for those not willing to keep $5 in their Steam account also includes participating in the Steam Market, gaining Steam profile levels, submitting content on the Steam workshop and accessing the Steam Web API.
If the account drops under $5 the restrictions come into play.
The $5 spend requirement comes on the heels of Steam deploying the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator program, which is also aimed at helping keep users protected against phishing attempts.
The beta security initiative is welcoming interested users to join the program and if chosen they are asked to download an app which will put two-factor authentication on their account. The goal is to better protect users' account with more than just a password. Right now there is an Android app with an iOS app in development.