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Posts with tag scammer

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security

The truth about Authenticators [Updated]

After getting a glimpse into the operations and motivations of a scammer, a lot of questions have arisen about the Authenticator. Can it be circumvented? Briefly and with your help, yes. Is having an Authenticator worth the hassle? Absolutely. These are just quick answers, and this is a topic worthy of more in-depth questions and long answers.

What is the Authenticator?

The Authenticator is a small device (pictured right) or an iPhone/iPod Touch app that can be tied to your account and provide an extra layer of security. The application is free, but the physical Authenticator costs $6.50 with free shipping in the U.S. They are also available in other countries.

How does it work?

The Authenticator generates a code that you must enter after entering your username and password when logging into WoW or when accessing your account management screens. This code is a one use code that is valid only for a limited time. But it is valid for longer than it lasts on the Authenticator. A new code is generated every few seconds, but an unused code is valid for longer than that (I'm not sure how long). For more details about how the Authenticator works, please read our interview with Blizzard.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security

[1.Local]: Shoved into the deep end

Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Yeah, we know you've already got Algalon on farm -- readers are just uber that way. But for the rare handful of you still playing at a somewhat less stratospheric progression point ... How about those patches? Is the flow of new content keeping pace with your playstyle and interest?

"The pace of new content is fine – ooh, shiny :)," wrote Julie. "What worries me is the rate at which old content becomes obsolete (which is way too fast). For example, I'm glad Ulduar and Emalon are out. I hate the fact you can't do Archavon without doing Emalon. I also hate the fact that there's no reason to go into Naxx (Pro-Drake, badges, etc.) or heroic five-mans, for that matter. Basically I'm ok with the new content coming out; not ok with being forced to move to the new content the moment it does, however. There should be some balanced incentives to keep doing older content."

Is your guild working patiently through the existing content at its own rate, or has the addition of new content shoved you out into the deep end before you were ready?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, [1.Local]

An interview with a scammer

Recently, I wrote about a scam involving selling Spectral Tiger Mounts, but I never thought I would be able to actually interview the guy responsible. Luckily, this particular scammer was willing to discuss the scam candidly with my husband and I. He ended being very like a Ferengi in his attitude toward what he calls "business". Here is the story.

Late last night, The Spousal Unit saw someone spamming Trade Chat, supposedly offering a Spectral Tiger Mount for sale. Since he knew two people that had been scammed by this, he called the seller a scammer in Trade Chat. The scammer sent him a tell and they proceeded to debate the issue in whispers. TSU called me over to show me the conversation, so of course I had to log on and pursue the interview further. Following are both interviews, copied over from in-game whispers.

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Filed under: Economy, Mounts, Interviews, Account Security

Wealth category removed from Armory statistics

The Armory was updated with achievement and statistic tracking last week to accompany the new game features introducted in patch 3.0.2, along with tools to compare your achievements and stats to other players on your realm. There was a lot of concern over someone the things displayed out in the open for all to see such as the Wealth stat. How much gold you've had, how much you have, things like that. Players felt it made them into targets of sorts, figuring hackers, scammers and phishing sites would focus fire a little more. Heck, some people were just plain uncomfortable with other players seeing their gold stores.

It looks like Blizzard actually agrees in this case. If they don't agree, at least they were feeling a little sympathy and wanted to calm some nerves. The Wealth category has been removed completely, and while you can still check up on other achievements and stats, you don't get a free look into someone's money bags anymore. I don't know that how much gold you have on display actually had an effect on who scammers target or not, but it's not like it was important information anyway and you might as well be more safe than sorry. Some stats are fun to see and compare, but I don't know that gold is one of those stats.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

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 "" 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 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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