The truth is, Niantic is banning Pokémon GO users for cheating. While cheaters of the mobile game deserve to be banned, some players have been issued with bans, who haven’t cheated.
How To Get Banned
There are three ways you can be banned in Pokémon GO. Using third-party scanners, bots, and GPS spoofing.
GPS spoofing is the process of using a fake location to trick the Pokémon GO app into thinking you are in one place, but actually you are in another. These apps let you choose a location, which will let you spoof Pokémon GO into thinking you’re at the chosen location.
Users who have abused this ability by travelling long distances in an extremely short amount of time, have been banned.
Remember PokeVision and how well it worked? No, of course you don’t, because we don’t cheat. There are still a few API scanners out there, which are being used though, leading to players being banned. These scanners need you to sign in using a Pokémon GO account, which means that it is trackable.
This is probably the worst cheat you can do and is the reason why these bans are taking place in the first place. Bots use your PC to run an emulated version of the game, and spam the features. Think of it as an automatic program that will spin PokéStops for you a thousand times a day, and sit and fight Gyms for you too.
These bots are really a problem as they ruin the experience for others, for no real reason other than spamming the servers with requests. If you are using a bot, there is no way for you to avoid being banned, and you deserve it anyway.
How To Tell If You’re Banned
Other than the email which Niantic is sending out, there are a few ways to tell if you have been banned. Players are reporting that they cannot connect to the server with an error that says “failed to get data from the game server“. This has been the most clear ban message so far, and along with players getting it, their games have not been loading in at all.
Other bans seem to point to a soft-ban where users have been unable to catch Pokémon and spin PokéStops at all, for a long period of time. These bans have been coming up for players who have been using GPS spoofs, but they only last a certain period. The only ban report has been a ban where users are able to log into the game’s server, but from then on have been unable to detect any Pokémon, see any PokéStops on the map, and interact with anything around them.
As the bans become more clear and public, we will investigate and keep you informed. For more Pokémon GO content, visit our Pokémon GO South African Hub.