World of Warcraft Scams Explained Through Infographic

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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World of Warcraft Scams Explained Through Infographic



There are a lot of World of Warcraft scams out there, so you'd better be educated if you love MMOs.

Even lesser-known MMOs have issues with scammers, so it's no surprise that legions of unsavory characters have latched onto one of the biggest: World of Warcraft [http://www.amazon.com/World-Warcraft-Cataclysm-Pc/dp/B002I0HKIU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287519482&sr=8-1]. If you're a World of Warcraft player and aren't yet aware of the illegalities that occur in your surroundings while you're hacking away at Murlocs, Sitejabber has developed an easy-to-read infographic that covers most of them.

In addition to exposing the dirty secrets of World of Warcraft scammers, the image is also full of fun facts. For example, did you know that the most expensive World of Warcraft account ever sold (illegally) apparently went for $9,900? That's a lot of Deadmine runs.

On to the scams, a very common one involves gold sales. While gold farming brings in hundreds of millions of dollars per year, that doesn't mean every gold-seller is legitimate. One of the simplest scams offers to sell players gold in World of Warcraft, but doesn't deliver. A player will get nowhere reporting the crime to Blizzard, because that would mean he/she was breaking the game's terms of service by buying gold. The law might not be too helpful in this case either.

Don't ever fall for any website that asks you to pay to download something to improve a World of Warcraft character either, because those sorts of programs don't really exist. In the majority of cases, you'll simply be paying to lose your account. The graphic points out that a "Gold Dupe" hack was popular at one time, which was really just a keylogger. Another similar program claims to improve character statistics and level, but it simply allows a scammer to steal account information, and it's the same deal with "power leveling" services that always require you to give over your username and password.

The most common scam that everybody encounters, even those that might never have played a videogame in their life, involves fake emails. These emails will often attempt to look as real as possible and say that the recipient has been invited to a beta test, has won an in-game prize, or that an account update is needed. When a user clicks on the link in the email, it takes him/her to a URL very similar to Blizzard's, but is really a scammer's.

Though the infographic includes the names of websites it says it trusts, I adamantly do not recommend ever using any kind of external service to improve your World of Warcraft character. The only safe way to level up or acquire gold is legitimately, and when it comes down to it neither of those things is all that hard. The rules of thumb are to never click on anything in an email, never download anything you're unsure of to your computer, and to never, ever, ever give your account information to anyone, even if they claim to be the president of Blizzard. You're never going to get Deathwing-scale plated armor without journeying into his... fissure [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/104461-WoW-Cataclysm-Cinematic-Intro-Blows-Everything-Up-Forever], or whatever, okay?

Source: Sitejabber [http://www.sitejabber.com/blog/2010/10/18/common-scams-from-the-world-of-warcraft/]

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Roper

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Apr 1, 2010
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I get tons of those fake emails for WoW and yet, my account is on a completley seperate email. Those scammers sure must go through tons of emails to actually scam anyone.
 

Bretty

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Jul 15, 2008
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You buy gold or want to do things to a toon that require effort? Tough cookies.

Wish I could sell my toon for 9k 8)
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Very informative. Hopefully this helps people.

Also, I'm selling some gold for starters, so you won't have to grind to get it. All I need is your email, account info, social security, credit card info, and your mother's maiden name.

Don't worry, I'm totally legit.
 

OANST

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Aug 10, 2009
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I just received an email a few days ago claiming that I had recently made changes to my WoW account. Thing is, I don't have a WoW account.
 

Rusty Bucket

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Irridium said:
Very informative. Hopefully this helps people.

Also, I'm selling some gold for starters, so you won't have to grind to get it. All I need is your email, account info, social security, credit card info, and your mother's maiden name.

Don't worry, I'm totally legit.
Seriously? Oh man, I'll PM you all that soon. Any other info you need? Would you like a blood sample sent?

Also, wildly off topic, but has anyone Pm'ed you the word Schwing yet?
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Rusty Bucket said:
Irridium said:
Very informative. Hopefully this helps people.

Also, I'm selling some gold for starters, so you won't have to grind to get it. All I need is your email, account info, social security, credit card info, and your mother's maiden name.

Don't worry, I'm totally legit.
Seriously? Oh man, I'll PM you all that soon. Any other info you need? Would you like a blood sample sent?
Its not required, but it will help the process go faster.

Also, wildly off topic, but has anyone Pm'ed you the word Schwing yet?
Yes. Yes they have.
 

Actual

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My favourite was early gold sellers who were totally legit in that they did take your money and deliver gold.

The next day they would announce that Blizzard had developed a new gold tracing system and were planning to ban everyone who bought gold. They could however de-taint your gold, so not to worry. trade the gold back temporarily and all would be well.

Of course once they had the gold back they demand you pay for it again. :D

Wasn't long before players picked up on this and just started asking random people to trade the bought gold to have it de-tainted, every now and then they hit a person who had bought gold recently and fell for it.
 

Rusty Bucket

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Irridium said:
Rusty Bucket said:
Irridium said:
Very informative. Hopefully this helps people.

Also, I'm selling some gold for starters, so you won't have to grind to get it. All I need is your email, account info, social security, credit card info, and your mother's maiden name.

Don't worry, I'm totally legit.
Seriously? Oh man, I'll PM you all that soon. Any other info you need? Would you like a blood sample sent?
Its not required, but it will help the process go faster.

Also, wildly off topic, but has anyone Pm'ed you the word Schwing yet?
Yes. Yes they have.
Blood sample's on the way now. I stuck my liver in there as well, just in case.

And I'm curious, was there a reason you wanted to get people to PM that?
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Rusty Bucket said:
Blood sample's on the way now. I stuck my liver in there as well, just in case.

And I'm curious, was there a reason you wanted to get people to PM that?
I "won" a contest...
 

Rusty Bucket

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Irridium said:
Rusty Bucket said:
Blood sample's on the way now. I stuck my liver in there as well, just in case.

And I'm curious, was there a reason you wanted to get people to PM that?
I "won" a contest...
The elipsis makes me nervous of inquiring further.
 

Kungfu_Teddybear

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I've been getting loads of fake emails over the last few weeks they are annoying. But to be honest they are so obvious that anyone that falls for them deserves to be hacked.
 

oneplus999

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While a goldselling website might try to keep its name clean by always delivering gold as promised, it doesn't mean they aren't acquiring that gold fraudulently, eg by hacking other accounts and stealing it. So even if you yourself aren't being negatively affected by the purchase, you are likely encouraging the hacking of others.
 

Racthoh

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This is one reason why I hate WoW so much, the scams. Inbox and junk folder frequently littered with these scam emails. I think WoW phishing emails outnumber male enhancement spam 2:1 personally.
 

GoGo_Boy

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Kungfu_Teddybear said:
I've been getting loads of fake emails over the last few weeks they are annoying. But to be honest they are so obvious that anyone that falls for them deserves to be hacked.
*generic ignorant comment*

I've gotten such scam mails myself after activating the WoW free trial on my BNet account (which I did just to perhaps increase my chance to get into the SC2 beta :D). Or could be that I even got these mails before I activated that as it was an older e-mail account.

When I got those mails telling me that I now gotta pay etc. I was confused for quite some time. Took me a while to be certain about it being a scam.

But heck, there are so many casual WoW players out there that those scams MUST have a huge success rate overall which sucks :/
 

Kungfu_Teddybear

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GoGo_Boy said:
Kungfu_Teddybear said:
I've been getting loads of fake emails over the last few weeks they are annoying. But to be honest they are so obvious that anyone that falls for them deserves to be hacked.
*generic ignorant comment*

I've gotten such scam mails myself after activating the WoW free trial on my BNet account (which I did just to perhaps increase my chance to get into the SC2 beta :D). Or could be that I even got these mails before I activated that as it was an older e-mail account.

When I got those mails telling me that I now gotta pay etc. I was confused for quite some time. Took me a while to be certain about it being a scam.

But heck, there are so many casual WoW players out there that those scams MUST have a huge success rate overall which sucks :/
The best ones are the in-game ones when you get some level 1 called "Blzzard" whispering you saying you've randomly won something and that you should log into "X".com to claim your reward.. yeah nice try.
 

Sir Moomin

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Im getting about 2 emails a day and i dont understand why i have had my account hacked before but i just closed it for like 8 months until cata but im gettings ones through now telling me my account has been hacked and when i click on the link thankfully firefox notifys me the site is a fake its just more work for when i decide to come back wll have to ring up blizz change emails and reset most of the account :(
 

samsonguy920

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Thanks for getting this out in the open Tom. I'd like to see more scam awareness getting put out instead of most people having to learn the hard way. Some of those scams do put some brains into the effort so even a savvy player can get fooled. Fortunately only some. Most are so brainless it just screams ripoff. I've gotten a few that either the writer was seriously grammar challenged or it was translated from another language without proofread followup.
OANST said:
I just received an email a few days ago claiming that I had recently made changes to my WoW account. Thing is, I don't have a WoW account.
I do have one and I've been getting a crapton of those. What threw me is at the time my account was suspended since I wasn't playing. I hastily got on the website to make sure nothing had changed and found it to still be asleep. I did send an email to Blizzard asking about that email and they very much placed that email in the fraud column. So now that goes into my junk folder which I periodically check over and if there is nothing legit, it all gets marked as a phishing scam. Which it all is.
One rule of thumb to keep in mind, which will help keep you out of trouble: If you get an email from some organization you deal with and it smells fishy, then contact the org separately without touching ANYTHING in the suspect email. That way if it is legit there was no harm in going the legit route you already know, and if it isn't, you save yourself a big heap of trouble and the org learns of a new scam someone is trying and can make their own efforts to shut it down.
Tom Goldman said:
Though the infographic includes the names of websites it says it trusts, I adamantly do not recommend ever using any kind of external service to improve your World of Warcraft character. The only safe way to level up or acquire gold is legitimately, and when it comes down to it neither of those things is all that hard.
Ain't that the truth. To me buying gold and using a leveling service is cheating the game, and Blizzard has already made its stance clear on that issue. One I agree with where multiplayer is concerned.
 

samsonguy920

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Sir Moomin said:
Im getting about 2 emails a day and i dont understand why i have had my account hacked before but i just closed it for like 8 months until cata but im gettings ones through now telling me my account has been hacked and when i click on the link thankfully firefox notifys me the site is a fake its just more work for when i decide to come back wll have to ring up blizz change emails and reset most of the account :(
Don't click on the link. Webpages can carry malware which can immediately do bad things to your pc and what you got stored in there. And just because you are using something other than IE, that don't make you safe. Scammers and hackers have already been getting their claws into Firefox and Chrome. Vulnerable data can include passwords sitting in your temporary swap memory to your Escapist account, Steam account, and even your bank account if you bank online. Not to mention letting the scammer know your IP which they can use to do further damage. If an email is fishy, and it is from something you do deal with, then you already know the email to find out. Go to their website separately and email them direct. Never use links in a fishy email.
Addendum:
GoGo_Boy said:
Kungfu_Teddybear said:
I've been getting loads of fake emails over the last few weeks they are annoying. But to be honest they are so obvious that anyone that falls for them deserves to be hacked.
*generic ignorant comment*

I've gotten such scam mails myself after activating the WoW free trial on my BNet account (which I did just to perhaps increase my chance to get into the SC2 beta :D). Or could be that I even got these mails before I activated that as it was an older e-mail account.

When I got those mails telling me that I now gotta pay etc. I was confused for quite some time. Took me a while to be certain about it being a scam.

But heck, there are so many casual WoW players out there that those scams MUST have a huge success rate overall which sucks :/
They don't need many suckers at all to keep in business while turning a small profit. MMO's are international, especially WoW, so they don't even have to touch American customers to get what they want. And sending emails just requires a little bit of time.