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Posts with tag scam

Beware of Blood Elves selling mounts


A friend of mine recently got hit by a pretty devious phishing scam targeting wealthy (in-game) players looking to make legitimate purchases. My friend, we'll call him Cobra, was in a major city when an offer in the Trade Channel caught his eye. A player, we'll call him Bubbles, was offering a Spectral Tiger Mount for 5000 gold. Since this mount is only available as a code on a rare loot card, Cobra contacted Bubbles to inquire. Purchasing codes for in-game items with in-game cash is perfectly legitimate, according to Blizzard, so Cobra did not worry about going against the TOS with this transaction.

Bubbles, a level 78 Blood Elf Mage, seemed legitimate. For one thing, he was not a throwaway low level character. Also, he didn't want to take the cash then, but just see it in a trade window to make sure Cobra was in possession of it. So Cobra gave Bubbles his email address only and waited for the email that included the code and a link to where to input the information.

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Filed under: Mounts, Account Security

Widespread wave of phishing emails reported


Over the past week WoW Insider has received an increasing number of reports of phishing emails. This means that some industrious folks have decided that now is a good time to try to steal accounts from unsuspecting players, and thus we're thinking this is a great time to remind people about the dangers of these evil emails!

Most of the current phishing emails have been telling people that their account is under investigation for account trading, and directing them to a website in which they need to fill in their complete account information along with a CD key. Obviously this website is a phishing site, and is illegitimate.

There are several things you should look for in a legitimate (or illegitimate) email from Blizzard. After the break we'll take a look at these, as well as provide some places you can go for further information.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Account Security

There is still no Wrath beta


I would hope that most of you have learned this lesson by now, but for those who came in late: there is currently no Wrath of the Lich King beta test going on. We've been getting a steady stream of tips about various scam sites, or questions along the lines of "is this invite I just got real?" No, that beta invite you got from "bl1zzard@yahoo.co.uk" is not real. Wrath is in alpha, company-internally, maybe. Trust me, I want in at least as bad as you do, but any invite you get to a Wrath beta right now, unless you work at Blizzard, is fake.

When the beta does start (as it surely will eventually), and if you're lucky enough to get a real invite, it will point to a site at blizzard.com, worldofwarcraft.com, or (for our European chums) wow-europe.com. It will not, for instance, point to therealblizzard.net. The scammers have gotten pretty good at building convincing-looking sites (as pictured), but check the URL and don't be fooled. Do not enter your WoW account name and/or password anywhere other than the log-in screen of the game, blizzard.com, worldofwarcraft.com, or wow-europe.com. Oh, and use Firefox.

Filed under: Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Account Security

Buyer beware in the Auction House

After a player complains that they mistakenly paid 75g for wool cloth in the Auction House, Drysc confirms that Blizzard is all about caveat emptor: the auction house market is all about open trade, so if you buy something for the wrong price, it's all on you.

This, of course, leaves the system fairly open to rampant fraud -- I know someone on another server who would often buy anything epic on the AH, day in and day out, and inflate the price an extra thousand gold. In many cases, the free market (which I'm pretty sure this is, right economists?) can usually correct itself -- you have to stay on top of a certain market if you plan to dominate it, since if anyone posts a lower price than you, you'll lose out on a sale. But in terms of a fraud -- the original poster in the thread claims that no one would ever have a serious reason to sell wool for 75g -- it's always "be careful what you click." Blizzard isn't completely laissez-faire when it comes to the economy, of course; they control the flow of gold in all kinds of ways. But when it comes to the auction house, you're on your own.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Making money

Bank declines Blizzard charges

It seems that keyloggers and phishers are not the only fraudsters infiltrating World of Warcraft. Halifax, a bank in the United Kingdom has ceased processing most transactions with Blizzard Entertainment. This measure was taken in response to increasing numbers of reports fraudulent transactions for WoW services. I had a similar issue with another bank based in the United States. That institution saw my recurring Blizzard charge as suspicious. Once I contacted them to verify my subscriptions my credit card was quickly returned to an active status.

In this case, the only fault on Blizzard's is making an astoundingly popular, subscription-based RPG. Do be on the lookout for unexpected transactions from Blizzard Entertainment and be sure to report them to your bank as soon as possible. Representatives from Blizzard Entertainment declined interviews with the Register, which investigated this phenomenon.

Do not be surprised if the transaction for your WoW subscription is refused in the near future. Halifax customers can use their credit cards to pay for their WoW subscriptions by making special arrangements with their account services department. If you would like to continue to use your Halifx Visa or Master card, be sure to contact customer support for authentication.

Filed under: News items

There is no Wrath beta

This is a public service announcement from all of us here at WoW Insider: there is currently no beta running for Wrath of the Lich King. This means that if you receive an invitation that claims to be for a Wrath beta, it's definitely a scam and you should under no circumstances click the links therein. If there were an actual Wrath beta, you would surely hear about it here and/or on the official website. If you have signed up for any alleged beta test, it would be a good idea to change your account password as soon as possible; you can't be too safe these days.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of misinformation about Wrath, release dates on retailers' web pages mean nothing. They have to make a date up in order to enter the product into their system most of the time, but unless they're Blizzard, they're just guessing, and your guess is probably as good as theirs. Now have a nice weekend, and don't sign up for any dodgy beta tests.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors

Scammers are betting you don't know a "vv" from a "w"


Scammers never stop trying, do they? They're always out there coming up with new and interesting ways to part players from their World of Warcraft accounts. Most recently, a European scam has set itself up by registering the domain www.vvovv-europe.com (currently, it's just redirecting to the main page), as opposed to the genuine EU site, www.wow-europe.com. (It shouldn't surprise us, then, that there's also a www.vvorldofvvarcraft.com -- but it hasn't been spotting using its domain for e-mail scams.) That's right, they've replaced the w in the authentic domain with a pair of v's. And while the difference is painfully obvious on a site like WoW Insider that uses a serif-style font, most browsers use a sans-serif style for their address bar in which the two v's look almost exactly like a w. (They're a bit wider than a normal w, but it's not a difference you're likely to notice at a glance.) So be extra careful of incoming e-mails that might try to convince you an e-mail from vvovv-europe is the real thing -- and remember, Blizzard will never ask you for your password!

[Thanks, Jon]

Beware of video scams


I'm sure you've read before about watching out for all sorts of scams -- after all, your World of Warcraft account information is valuable stuff, and plenty of thieves out there would be happy to get their hands on it. The latest technique of account theft that I've noticed is all over YouTube, in many videos offering to teach you how to hack World of Warcraft accounts for fun and profit. All of these videos suggest that Blizzard has some sort of account retrieval service that can be accessed by e-mailing a random address (often at Gmail or Hotmail) with your account name and password as well as the name of the account you wish to access. Then, the videos claim, all you have to do is wait for Blizzard to mail you the password of the target account!

Of course, the entire thing is a scam. The people posting these videos just want to take your password and run. So be warned, everyone -- don't fall pray to greed, and don't give your password out to anyone, regardless of what they might promise you in return.

Filed under: Cheats, News items

Avoiding gold-selling scams


Tobold has an interesting post up on getting scammed by businesses claiming to sell in-game gold or items. While, yes, it's easy enough for them to take your money and hand you some in-game cash, it's easier still for them to take your money and then not bother doing anything else. (And try to explain that to your credit card company when you dispute the charges...) And once you've lost real money to such a scammer, what's your next recourse? Well, a lot of people will call customer service and complain -- Sony cited frequent customer service calls as one of the reasons they legitimized the trading business with their Station Exchange. But Blizzard's not going to be able to do anything but snicker when you call and complain that a gold-seller took your money and ran, so, really, buying gold could just leave you with a hole in your real and virtual pocket. The only way to be 100% sure you get what you pay for is obvious: don't buy gold in the first place.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Economy

Beware of scam e-mails!


I've heard of plenty of reports of scammers trying to get your account information with e-mails claiming to be from Blizzard, but after having one land in my Around Azeroth mailbox, I thought I'd share it with you. And while we're at it, we can talk about how you can tell that an e-mail came from Blizzard or not.

First off -- this didn't come to my primary e-mail address. Blizzard doesn't know me as "aroundazeroth@gmail.com" so any mail going there has to be bogus. And secondly, it's coming from Blizzard Europe, while I don't have a European account. However, if this had landed in my primary mailbox, and substituted US contact information for EU contact information, I'd have to take it seriously -- after all, it appears to have been sent from blizzard.com and it sounds awfully ominous. They suspect me of trying to sell my account and they're going to suspend it unless I verify it! Yikes!

However, here's the big catch: after going through all of their ominous threats, they tell me to give them my account name and password. Nope, sorry. A Blizzard representative will never ask for your account name and password -- so don't give it out to anyone claiming to be with Blizzard, because that's all the information they need to take over your account. And if you get a mail like this that you're just not sure about -- don't give them any information, but confirm its authenticity with Blizzard, first. Get in touch with their billing support team by phone or e-mail!

For those of you curious as to what one of these scams looks like, the full text of the e-mail is after the jump.

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Instance griefing not against the ToS?


Unless you've experienced it first hand, you may not realize what the term "instance griefing" refers to. In this particular case, it refers to any player or players who are maliciously stealing your guild's raid IDs in order to grief you during raid time. (For non raiders in the audience, high-end raid dungeons have specific reset timers on them, preventing you from constantly farming the dungeon. At some point after zoning into a dungeon -- usually after a boss kill -- you're "saved" to the specific instance and assigned an instance ID that is the same for you and all of your group. Anyone saved with that specific ID will zone into your instance rather than a fresh instance -- at least until the dungeon resets.) Poster Trindade offers some advice on how random players might wind up getting your Karazhan instance ID:

Bob is a member of your raid and has your instance ID.
Jim is a scumbag griefer in shattrath wanting to steal your ID.
Ted is a scumbag griefer outside Karazhan waiting to steal your ID.

Jim is in a group with Ted. They have made their group a raid.

Jim whispers Bob "Hey Bob, wanna run Shattered Halls?"
Bob whispers Jim "sure".
Jim invites Bob to join his group.
Bob joins the raid group.
Bob is now the group leader.
Ted enters Karazhan.


So what happens next? Read on for the whole story.

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Filed under: Guilds, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding

The Argent Dawn does not love you

Specifically, the Argent Dawn does not love you enough to send you a gift-wrapped item via in-game mail. This is an old scam, where an enterprising scumbag will roll a character named "Argentdwn" or something, gift-wrap any old arbitrary item (water, say), and send it via Cash on Delivery to anyone whose name they can get their hands on. Apparently this con has come back in a big way right now (though I haven't seen it on Shadow Council-A), so be on the look-out for it. You should probably not accept any CoD wrapped items, since you never know what's in them; and the Argent Dawn is certainly not going to be sending you any. Just delete the mails, but be sure to report the offending character's name via GM ticket (I write them up for verbal harassment); this'll get these things shut down faster.

Fortunately, it looks like we won't have to watch out for this too much longer. Tseric says:
  • Coming soon in a patch near you, we will be disabling the ability to send wrapped packages by C.O.D., which should stem this particular trend we've been seeing lately.
This is good news; I can't think of any legit reason why someone would want to CoD a wrapped item, since the only reason I can think of to use wrapping in the first place is if you're giving a gift.

Have you had any experiences with this or other scams? What should we be on guard for?

Filed under: Tips, Cheats, Odds and ends

New Password Scams

Apparently there's a new set of password scams going around.  These e-mails, apparently from security@blizzard.com, will request your account and password information.  Community manager Drysc reminds us that Blizzard will never send ask for your account password via e-mail, and any messages you may receive requesting passwords information, no matter how legitimate looking, is most likely a scam to steal your account.  If you've gotten an e-mail that looks suspicious, you can write billing@blizzard.com to confirm its validity.  Additional information about scams and account security can be found on Blizzard's support page, as well.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard Warns of Password Scams

Tseric has made a post in the general forums advising players to be wary of e-mails requesting their account information.  So if you get an e-mail asking you for personal information in exchange for a Warcraft rebate, remember that Blizzard employees will never ask you for your password.  And if in doubt, you can always contact Blizzard support to confirm.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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