While online scammers tend to focus on tricking people into providing financial information (such as credit card and banking information) there is also a lucrative business in tricking people into handing over their World of Warcraft information.
Now, you might be wondering what scammers could get out of a Warcraft account. After all, it hardly seems worth the effort to get access to a game when the same effort could provide access to bank accounts. However, while a WoW account won’t yield the sort of payout that access to a bank account would yield, they can be a source of revenue.
As with any money-making enterprise, there is a shadow economy that has grown up around WoW and other such games. Part of this shadow economy involves selling in game gold for real money (which is often also a scam for getting credit card numbers). Another part of this economy involves selling characters and gear for real money. While some operations do actually employ people to “farm” for gold (the infamous “Chinese gold farmers”) and level characters, stealing an established account to plunder for items and gold is far more time efficient. One common tactic is to steal an account and then sell everything the characters have and, if the characters are in a guild, to raid the guild bank and sell everything there. This actually happened to my guild, which is why I use hardware authenticator with my account.
While I have been playing WoW since 2004, I received my first email WoW scam today. I assume it was either a random mailing or some bot culled my email from a post about WoW. As you can see from the text below, the scam was either written by using Google translate or maybe by a college student:
Congratulations! Your world of Warcraft account to receive compensation.This is Blizzard Entertainment’s apology, We acknowledge a mistake, for you to lose the World of Warcraft account in order to recover our losses, We will give you 50000 gold coins free of charge and rare mounts (Dark Phoenix), I hope you can restart the game
Login here to authentication, 48 hours you will receive compensation
Description: test account and permanently disabled can not compensation
It was rather easy to spot that this was a scam. After all, Blizzard doesn’t send these sort of emails nor does it ever send people gold or rare mounts to compensate for anything. As noted above, the writing style is also a dead give away. Naturally, the link was also clearly not a Blizzard site.
Presumably some people do fall for these scams-after all, 50000 gold coins and rare mounts are rather tempting to the ignorant. Of course, when I read it I had to laugh and my first thought was “seriously, is the best that you scammer assweasels can do?” They really need to step up their game-this current scam is just insulting and I demand a better quality scam.