As we all know, Niantic has gotten out the ban hammer and come out swinging for the fences in the last few weeks. Pummeling trainers left and right, the most recent reports put the number of banned users in the hundreds of thousands. But some people may not even realize why they can’t access their new favorite game anymore. Here are the top 5 ways to get banned in Pokémon Go.
1. Multiple Accounts on the Same Device
We know you didn’t read those Terms of Service when you signed up (because who ever really does?) but one of the rules you agreed to was to not have more than one account in the game. If Niantic catches you logging in to multiple accounts from the same device, you may get banned. If you and a sibling or partner share the same device, you’re probably out of luck. While we believe you when you say you share your smartphone (totally), Niantic probably won’t.
2. Location Spoofing
Let’s be honest – trying to travel to other locations to catch Pokémon can be pretty tough. Especially if you’re dependent on someone else to get around or can’t afford gas money to travel to the beach or the local city all the time. Lots of trainers turned to apps that allow them to spoof their location and travel to other places without leaving their home. Niantic considers that a huge violation of the game’s rules (after all, the point is to get out and walk right?) so if you’re suspected of location spoofing or caught red handed, you can expect the mighty ban hammer to fall.
3. Using Other Apps to Locate Pokémon
While this one is considered a lesser problem than location spoofing, it is still believed to be cheating. When you use third-party apps and programs to get an unfair advantage over players who simply play the game on its own like Niantic intended, it violates the Terms of Service as well. The numbers of players being banned for this kind of cheating are low but there are still reports of banning due to Pokémon locating apps.
4. Actually Traveling to Another State or Country
Believe it or not, Niantic’s geo-location monitoring system may temporarily ban you if you fly to another state or country. Since there’s such high amounts of location spoofing, it’s difficult for Niantic to tell if you actually flew to the new location or you’re trying to cheat. Their solution is a temporary ban. These “soft bans” kick in for as little as a few minutes to an entire day depending on how quickly and how fast you travel. Unlike a “hard ban” (permanent) that doesn’t allow you to log in anymore, a soft ban simply makes playing the game impossible for a short amount of time. This means when you spin Pokestops, nothing happens, when you throw a pokéball at a Pokémon, they don’t react, and you won’t get any credit for walking to hatch an egg. It’s still hard to tell if you’ve been temporarily banned or if the servers aren’t working so just be patient and wait to play for a while if you’re unsure. You can also check the server status in your country here.
5. You’re Simply a Victim
Sometimes, in the name of banning cheaters, innocent trainers get caught in the crossfire and get banned for no reason. Take the poor folks in Belgium who were under a country-wide ban after a creative cheater spoofed the IP of the country’s largest cell phone carrier.
The good news is, if you believe you’ve been banned unfairly, you can fill out an appeal and wait for Niantic to get back to you. If they don’t, you’re probably banned for good on that device but if they do get back to you, there’s hope you may get to play again.