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How to tell if a GM is whispering you

A guildie got the above whisper Tuesday night. (I have blocked out the website so as not to promote this phishing attempt.) We have reports of this happening to a lot of people in-game right now as yet another attempt to get you to go to a site, so they can steal your login info and defile your characters.

Let's dissect the above whisper:
  • It's one whisper made to look like two. This will work if your chat settings match the scammer's chat settings, but if you've fiddled with your font or chat window, then the formatting will be off and the scam will be more obvious.
  • The whisper is from a garbage name. All "players" I've seen with random characters have been scammers or gold selling barkers. So anything after such a name should be considered highly suspect.
  • It says [Game Master]GM. The scammers aren't even trying here. Blizzard GMs have names and have <GM> before their names.
  • It sends you to a non-Blizzard site. Don't go to any website you get in tells or in-game mail as a general rule. If you have received a ban of any kind, you will receive an email to the account you have on file with your subscription info.


Now, this is what it looks like when a GM is actually whispering you [Edited to reflect current GM chat.]:

Notice the differences:
  • The GM has an intelligible name. It's an actual name, not random letters and not just GM or Game Master.
  • The syntax is BLIZZ[Name]. There is now a BLIZZ logo next to the GM's name, which is in brackets.
  • There's no whisper from a stranger right above it. The scammer could use someone's stolen account, so an incomprehensible name is not a guaranteed method of identifying a perp.
  • GM chat pops up in its own window. This is important because there has been at least one case where a GM accidentally left a BLIZZ logo on a non-GM player. This allowed the player to chat with a logo next to his character's name for a while.
Also, if you do receive a whisper saying that your account has been suspended from a GM, you will be booted out of the game. Because, you know, your account has been suspended. And then you will receive an email explaining how long you have been banned and for what.

Reminder: If you get an email from Blizzard, please make sure it is really from Blizzard before you click on anything in it. The best way to do this is to call their support line (link goes to Blizzard's global support listings). If there is anything up with your account, they will confirm it. If not, they will direct you in how to report the email you received.

Of course, if no one bought gold, it would not be profitable for scammers to spend the time sending you in-game messages and out-of-game emails. And with how easy it is to make money in Azeroth these days, I really don't understand why anyone would support hackers in this way. But people are still buying gold and therefore, the rest of us must be constantly vigilant against account thieves.

Please remember that account safety and computer security is your responsibility! While WoW.com has provided you with resources to additional information, do your homework and make sure you know what you're doing before installing any antivirus or other software. And if your account does get stolen, please see our guide on what to do next.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security

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