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Super Mario Run Is a Hit With Players — and Scammers

You're not the only one who doesn't want to pay to unlock premium features in Super Mario Run.

The classic game, which came to iOS devices last week, has been downloaded a record-breaking 40 million times in its first four days, said Nintendo.

Image: Super Mario
Mario from "Super Mario Run." Nintendo

But it seems many people are having fun twiddling their thumbs in the free version of the game, instead of forking over $9.99 for the upgrade.

Related: Is Nintendo's $10 Super Mario Game the New Normal For Gaming?

While the app ranked No. 1 for free downloads in 75 countries, it was No. 1 in revenue in only 23 countries. In Nintendo's home country of Japan, the app struggled to stay in the top five, according to Sensor Tower, an app intelligence firm.

Mobile gaming is big business, generating an estimated $37 billion this year globally, according to market research firm Newzoo. However, at $9.99, Super Mario Run is one of the more expensive offerings in the app store.

That's where scammers — we'll think of them as the evil Bowser in this situation — come in, luring players with the promise of a free leap over the pay wall.

There are more than 341 malicious accounts promising free access to Super Mario Run, according to a report released Thursday by ZeroFOX, a threat intelligence firm.

"No one wants to pay for anything ever if they can get away with it," Evan Blair, co-founder and chief business officer at ZeroFOX, told NBC News. "And, any time there is a pop culture phenomenon, you will find scammers jumping all over it."

Image: ZeroFOX has identified a number of scams online claiming to give people free access to Super Mario Run's premium features
ZeroFOX has identified a number of scams online claiming to give people free access to Super Mario Run's premium features. ZeroFOX

One of the most popular ways is through social media. Scammers have created accounts that appear legitimate and boast thousands of followers.

They'll claim to offer a free download or free coins, which are the game's currency. People are then urged to click a questionable link that redirects them to phishing pages, where they'll be prompted to enter personal information, Blair said.

Another scam involves hijacking popular Super Mario Run hashtags to push another scam, such as the promise of watching the new "Star Wars" movie for free.

"There are a lot of legitimate deal sites out there and social media isn’t one of them. If you’re going to look for offers on social, make sure you’re engaged with the official brand accounts," Blair said. "It sounds simplistic but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."