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Reader Comments (23)

Posted: Nov 29th 2009 4:09PM Holgranth said

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Well good on them. I think a lot of criminals and criminal wannabes think that internet gaming is a "SAFE" way to scam people out of somthing of value.

Posted: Nov 29th 2009 4:30PM (Unverified) said

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I think this is going OTT personally. Losing a virtual item can be annoying, but you just contact a GM, tell the GM of the scam and 9/10 they'll do something to help, not bloody arrest the man for doing it. And so the UK police state just gets more and more prevalent.

Posted: Nov 29th 2009 4:48PM Anatidae said

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Well, sure. But still. Account phishing - regardless what type of account - shoudl be illegal. Theft is theft. So today he steals someone's game account information. Tomorrow their bank information?

Plus, I have known people who had their accounts hacked and did get back anything. I would be curious on that 90% number of people scammed get their items back.

In fact, I just did a google search. There are TONS of pages regarding WoW account hacks and so far, with limited scanning, everyone who speaks from direct experience said that when they did get their account back, they typically lost all their gold and gear. There was a couple mentions where a character was deleted and the GMs un-deleted it, but still with empty pockets.

Besides, like I said, stealing is stealing - regardless of the medium.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 5:31PM Nadril said

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I agree that arrest seems like too much. I could maybe see giving someone a fine for account phishing but even then with the case of virtual goods like this they are able to be reimbursed without any real loss.

It just feels like it should be something that is handled within the game its self.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 6:27PM (Unverified) said

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If someone stole an Xbox out of your home that you had insured would you argue that they shouldn't be arrested? The fact that it's a leisure activity and the stolen items are replaceable shouldn't be the determining factor.

I support this if for no other reason than the deterrent effect.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 6:46PM (Unverified) said

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If the Xbox was insured I wouldn't really care, it'd be win:win, the burglar gets to feed his children and I get a new Xbox.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 6:54PM Nadril said

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What? You clearly misunderstood me with your attempt at trying to make a terrible comparison.

An xbox costs money to produce. Even if you got it back for free from the manufacturer it still costs them money to make it. A video game item or even account does not cost money. It takes time, yes, but unless you're going to embrace the third party monetary value of an item than they are more of less "worthless".

At any rate my point is is that your character and/or items can be reinbursed for no extra cost. It doesn't cost a company any extra to give you your scammed items back (they have GMs staffed if you get scammed or not) and in the end the "crime" really only sets back your playing time a good bit.

These sort of matters should be handled through in game means, not by involving the police or FBI which is ridiculous.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 7:51PM Anatidae said

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@Nadril

In my life time = money. And, as a simple google search will show, if you get scammed on your account it is not likely that you will get all your virtual goods back.

Also, the people taking your items - you do realize they are selling the gold for real-world money? In fact, you hard work would net someone real cash in their hands.

Besides, the world is becoming a virtual place. Ever play online poker? All those chips are virtual. Until you cash out, it isn't money. In fact, likely you use an ATM/Debit card - there are more virtual transactions. Some people have fraud protection on their credit cards. When that virtual money is spent, you are reimbursed - yet you were stolen from.

Again, theft is theft. Regardless of the medium. A person should be prosecuted to the same extent any thief would be. In the case of phishing, this is someone who could have stolen from hundreds of people - that is a lot of theft. Yeah, jail time is in order.
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 9:08PM Ripper McGee said

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Keep in mind that stored financial information often comes with the account. As such, the thief may be able to purchase virtual goods with your information. That's theft and identity fraud. It's also incredibly damaging not only to you (victim) and potentially your credit, but also to the company due to charge backs. Following is a quote from Icarii, a Runes of Magic GM on their official boards regarding Frogster's 30 day hold on using legitimately purchased diamonds in the Auction House:

"OK, I will explain the 30 day "hold"...

Diamonds being allowed in the AH is something the players wanted but with that came many problems.

1. Diamond/gold sellers: They used this system to their advantage. Sure we are able to track everything but the damage they did on their own was staggering.
-Sellers would use stolen PayPal accounts (and credit cards, thats why the new CC option has a 30 day hold as well) and buy thousands of dollars in diamonds and then unload them to players. Some players knew what was going on and others were clueless.

PayPal would notify us of the "unauthorized" payments and then we would track everything linked to the illegal account. We banned everyone who got these diamonds or items from the sellers accounts. Since we couldn't just remove the "bad" items we were left with no choice but to ban.

2. Player charge backs:
Many players would do charge backs (kinda like the sellers lol) after they got their diamonds and use, gifted and unloaded every last one of them.
We would have to act the same way as we did with the diamond sellers.
Then there is those who play the game for 4 or 5 months and then quit, re roll, or w/e and they do a charge back.

All of this starts to hurt, not only our bank account but the players as well.
It is not our intention to "punish" legit players. It is nothing like that in the least. The current system gives us time to fix these issues and that is our GOAL.
This is no minor issue in our book . We are working on this and Runewaker is working on this."

So, as you can see, the issue can indeed be both far reaching and financially devastating. As such, I absolutely support law enforcement being involved, if necessary.

~Ripper
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 10:38PM (Unverified) said

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@ Nadril:

I wasn't replying to you with the Xbox comparison. I was replying to Anonymous, on whose comment I clicked reply.

However, as for the time and money argument. It may not cost you money when your account is restored, but it costs the developer money. The time GMs spend restoring lost accounts is not spent on other things, forcing the developer to hire more GMs. This is analogous to the real life example of an Xbox, in which the insurance company loses the money.

And in case you are under the impression the amount of money spent is insignificant, check out the interview I'm linking. One of the designers from Everquest talks about the effect of RMT on developers, and one of the costs included was the customer service costs with restoring accounts that had been affected by fraud.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIJmVA_NlO0
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Posted: Nov 29th 2009 4:37PM Miffy said

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Account phishing is different to cheating because it's stealing... bit of a misleading title.

Posted: Nov 29th 2009 8:47PM (Unverified) said

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This is brilliant. I hope this becomes a norm.

These leeches have been getting away with this for far too long without repercussions. It's time people have the reality brought home to them that internet-anonymity isn't an excuse to engage in anti-social behavior.

I hope they go after gold spammers and even gold buyers like this next.

For those that think it's too harsh, well think about it, the person has a choice, just like in the real world, simply don't do it and you won't be arrested. You also obviously have little idea how detrimental account theft and scamming is to MMO companies and how much it costs them each year in time and lost revenue due to players quitting. There is no reason at all these scumbags should be getting away with it just because it's the internet.

Posted: Nov 29th 2009 9:46PM Valdur said

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Cyber criminals should pay for their actions,plain and simple.And the punishment should be harsh,period.

Posted: Nov 30th 2009 3:37AM wjowski said

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Self-righteous much? Sending people to *jail* for scamming people out of fictional goods is way over the line.
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Posted: Nov 30th 2009 10:37AM thud said

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Account Stealing = Identity Theft

or at least a step one towards identity theft. there is simply too much personal information tied to a game account for such an act NOT to be taken seriously. Kudos to Jagex.

Posted: Nov 30th 2009 1:49PM (Unverified) said

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I'm alway amazing and blown away by those who defend online criminals or say that "arresting is too much". YGTBFKM! The lack of ethics and basic morals with those that pirate or scam...never ceases to shock me.

I hope they get arrested, and I hope they get tasered...executed if possible.

Posted: Nov 30th 2009 4:49AM (Unverified) said

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"Self-righteous much? Sending people to *jail* for scamming people out of fictional goods is way over the line."

I completely disagree.

These items ARE NOT fictional. They are as real as a pirated DVD or a ripped MP3.

Real people paying real money to develop and release a real intellectual property and now paying people (GM's) to guard it. They have every right to protect their intellectual property by pursuing real criminal charges for anyone attempting to gain these items illegally or through deliberate fraud.

Don't look at this from the players perspective. Look at it from the developer's perspective.

Posted: Nov 30th 2009 3:23PM wjowski said

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And now you're seriously comparing the theft of real-world goods with taking advantage of some gullible idiot in an online game.

...I honestly have no words.
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Posted: Nov 30th 2009 5:11PM (Unverified) said

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Gaming Companies sink just as much "real-world" money into the development and execution of an MMO as do other forms of entertainment such as making movies or creating music.

I get a "real world" good in the form of a Gamebox/CD just as I do with Movies and Music. I put it into a machine and enjoy its content, just as I do with Movies and Music.

Movies and Music on their own are just as intangible as MMO's are.

If you want to get technical you could say that Gold Farmers are literally taking a pixelated image they do not own nor did they create..i.e. a gold piece icon...and then selling it to make a profit for themselves.

That would be comparable to me printing out screen shots of Darth Vader from StarWars and then selling them.

The internet has ALOT of growing up to do and the protection of intellectual property should be paramount.

The steps this company is taking are hopefully merely the tip of the iceberg.

Like I said..this isn't a PLAYER issue..its a DEVELOPER issue and they have every right to protect their intellectual property and receive proper restitution for their efforts.

The MMO industry is at a point where it needs to start being taken just as seriously as any other form of intangible mainstream entertainment.
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Posted: Nov 30th 2009 8:42AM kasapina said

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If people can just steal my account and destroy everything I've accomplished for weeks/months/years, then I would call it stealing. Sure, it is virtual. But much of the pleasure people get in mmos comes from the delight of achieving something, from reaching a goal. Surely you don't really enjoy farming rep in wow, or gathering mats for gold, or doing all the grind in f2p mmos. But most people do it anyway - because of the achievement. And if someone destroys all the work I've done on my characters, I'd surely call it a theft. Taking other's property is a theft - if it isn't, do give me your passwords.

Kudos to Jagex. They have a one of a kind game (which isn't more popular than wow only because of the complete lack of advertisement, except miniclip), and are the only company with the balls to fight all the scammers, cheaters and other internet scum. Now, I don't claim that I am well enough informed, but aren't they the only mmo company to completely destroy gold farmers and to arrest a fraudster?

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