World of Warcraft Scams Explained Through Infographic

World of Warcraft Scams Explained Through Infographic

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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. 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, or whatever, okay?

Source: Sitejabber

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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.

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)

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.

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.

Irridium:
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?

Rusty Bucket:

Irridium:
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.

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.

Irridium:

Rusty Bucket:

Irridium:
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?

Rusty Bucket:

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...

Irridium:

Rusty Bucket:

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.

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.

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.

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.

S>Escapist Account 4 100k

Any buyers?

Kungfu_Teddybear:
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 :/

GoGo_Boy:

Kungfu_Teddybear:
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.

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 :(

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:
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:
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.

Sir Moomin:
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:

Kungfu_Teddybear:
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.

I have never been scammed or even had anyone try to scam me (besides those idiot that contact you through whisper) and I've been playing for about 3 years now

One of the things that turned me off to WoW was increasingly being bugged in-game by gold farmers, scammers, and the like once my character started hitting some of the higher levels. It got to the point where if a stranger tried to contact me, my initial response was "I'm not going to give you any gold."

It is a shame you can't really see the picture, even if you open it in a new window and zoom in.

Although I play world of warcraft on a

I run into scammers mostly trying to do work for you and once the item is ready charging ridiculous amounts for it (like 100,000 gold for 1 strong troll's blood elixir) unfortunately you can just refuse the trade and tell the person to bugger off and the problem is solved

Also someone hacked my trial account (the trial had run out 3 years ago) hope the big "please pay to activate this account" screen made them all smiley and happy.

OANST:
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.

Got one of those too. I don't think I'd play WoW even if someone paid me. They must just send an email to every email address. That'd be pretty resource-intensive, wouldn't it?

I knew some people who thought they could make a quick-buck by selling WoW items and characters via a website (this was quite a while ago now and it was some kind of summer project of some, in hindsight, major dickbags. I attemepted to tell them how basically unethical this was and really a legal gray area but i was ignored. I was not involved in the project except for my protests). Little did they know (well they claim that but im sure they must have at least suspected) many of these accounts were stolen and things began to wrong when someone obviously found out their hacked account was on sale on the website. A slew of angry e-mails flew in but it didn't bother my aquaintences, they could deal with a few angry people and the service was making money. What they couldn't deal with was an e-mail from blizzard kindly explaining that if the site was not shut down they would be in a world of legal hurt. Naturally they shit themselves and shut down immediately.

To this day i think they are still paranoid that Blizzard might decide to bring the hammer down (i know it's far too late now but i don't bother telling them that). The point is that many think this kind of practice is harmless but really you are exposing yourself both the what ammounts ot forigen cyber criminals and the legal departements of a software giant. Personally i find people who offer services in this area to be one of the worst kinds of online bottom feeder.

I checked my old Hotmail some days ago, and I'd been spammed with the routine "your account has been seized for illegal activity" messages. As it happens, I updated my WoW contact address, so I knew they were all scams.

Deadman Walkin:
It is a shame you can't really see the picture, even if you open it in a new window and zoom in.

You can now.

I had been getting a lot of scam mails for the e-mail addy I was using for W.o.W then I changed it to one that hardly ever gets any use one day.

I guess the spammers didn't get the memo, because I get all the real e-mail to the new addy; and still an ungodly amount of spam to the previous.

This also applies to STEAM! DO NOT type in your info to log into a "steam" forum if one of your "friends" suddenly decides to link you something "you have to see!"

Good guide for the uninitiated. for the rest of us MMO players, DUH!

P.S. I got an email about my SC2 account password having been changed But strangely enough it wasnt sent to the primary email i had attached to it! I almost got tempted to click on the link "If you did not make these changes, please click here to report this incidence" XD

You have to go to the official website yourself and check. thought it was funny that my password was changed but it was still the same password i used XD

Im sellin copper. lots and lots of copper. i also have unexclusive, ultra-unrare white weapons for sale. great deals on leather belts. I make em myself. basically im selling loot from just outside silvermoon. anyone want in?

Antitonic:

OANST:
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.

Got one of those too. I don't think I'd play WoW even if someone paid me. They must just send an email to every email address. That'd be pretty resource-intensive, wouldn't it?

Yeah. I don't play WoW. I've never played WoW. I never will play WoW. Or any other MMO for that matter. I'd be willing to bet that they are either buying the email addresses from one gaming site or another, or they are stealing them from a gaming site. It wouldn't be cost effective to try to send emails to every email address you can find. They must be narrowing their search by people who at least play video games.

I call many of these scams Karma.

It's what you get for trying to cheat.

antidonkey:
I call many of these scams Karma.

It's what you get for trying to cheat.

I wouldn't call the power-leveling scam cheating. I'd call it shirking. In theory, (if both parties were honest in the deal), you are paying someone to play the game on your behalf. At best, this is delegating. At worst, shirking.

And hell, were I less attached to my money and actually thought there was such a service that was legitimate AND I wanted to play WoW with friends I'd consider it. I have a lot more money than free time for grinding.

Hell, if blizzard was smart, they'd just let players pay a couple bucks to auto-level up. You could easily put a cap on it if you wanted of course. When I tried to play the game last, I was treated to three full god damn days of running around doing quests and killing monsters by myself before I even started to see other people with any regularity. And it took five full days before I got to a point where I could reasonably hope to find a group if I needed one. I got bored and quit long before I got to the point that I could even hope to play with the friends who goaded me to join.

 

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