Policy Spotlight - Scams

Customer Support
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Originally posted 07/07/2010

Moving on with our series of “Spotlight” posts, and this week we’re back onto a point of policy – scams!

We’ll be looking to detail the main types of scams we see reported on a regular basis, as well as those we don’t consider to fall under the category of ‘scam’, and then move on to describe how you can hopefully reduce your chances of falling victim to such a ploy, as well as how to go about reporting the situation to us if the unfortunate has indeed happened.

Scam Policy and Philosophy

Official Scam Policy page

Our Philosophy

As In-Game Support, and Customer Support in general, we’re here to hopefully try and ensure that all of our players have the most enjoyable experience possible while playing World of Warcraft.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be able to step in or interfere in every distressing situation you might encounter in the course of your WoW life, we will try to assist in any situations where a deliberate deception or fraud has taken place.

To put things in the most recognisable terms possible, try to think of in-game support as the ‘WoW Police’ in this regard!

However, as with the real Police, we unfortunately cannot be there as a fall-back in all situations (particularly those inherently fraught with risk), and we still strongly believe in providing you the players with as much personal responsibility and accountability for your own actions as possible.
Types of Scam
The following are just a general overview of the types of scam our in-game team see reported to us daily, and you can click on each title to follow the appropriate links to read more about each of the various categories.

Trade Scams
  • Crafting and profession-related scams
  • Item sale

COD Scams

TCG Code Scams

”Scams” that break the Terms of Use
  • Casinos
  • Game-time cards
  • Pet and mount codes from the Online Store

Guild Bank Theft/Scams
  • Impersonation

Loot Scams
  • “Ninja” looting
  • GDKP


We’ve also included a section on some of the agreements that aren’t technically what we would consider to be a ‘scam’, and should therefore only be entered into with individuals you already trust and are entirely at your own risk.

NOT Scams
  • Gold Loans
  • Cross-realm Trades/Cross-faction Trades
  • Auction House Pricing
  • Mistaken Trades or Mails
Trade Scams


Trade scams basically cover anything that you would realistically be using the ‘Trade’ channel to sell or buy, and although over the years we’ve tried to implement as many additional ways as possible to help alleviate the ‘need’ to rely on direct trades with others (Enchanting scrolls, etc.), we still recognise that these types of transactions will carry a certain amount of unavoidable risk.

    Crafting and profession-related scams
    If you have agreed for another player to create an item for you, and this individual then takes either the materials or the agreed price or ‘fee’, then this is very much a scam and falls under our Scam Policy.

We also realise that with certain items, particularly those that stack and may be collected and exchanged in bulk, players may prefer to arrange things in person (rather than through the Auction House).

    Item sale
    Similarly, after a price has been agreed for an item (bearing in mind that this agreement must be in some form of in-game chat channel – voice chat programs do not count), if one of the players involved in the situation fails to adhere to their side of the bargain then this is indeed a scam.

For both these types of situation, please try and ensure that it’s very clear in the chat what the arrangement is going to be – this will make things much easier for our in-game team if anything does go awry.
COD Scams

Items sent by COD (Cash On Delivery) mail with misleading titles (often promising a large stack of a certain item, when in fact the mail itself may only contain one such item or even none at all) are also a relatively common type of scam.

If the title on the mail infers wildly differing contents to that which are actually present, and it’s clear that this isn’t simply a mistake but rather the title has been forcibly edited in order to deceive, this can clearly be seen and proved to be a scam.

Please note, however, that forgetting to place the appropriate COD value on a mail before sending it (and the recipient accepting the resulting ‘free’ or ‘bargain’ item) is not something we can interfere with.
TCG Code Scams

To be very clear on this, the most commonly sold (and scammed!) items available from the TCG Loot Cards have been made Bind on Equip now, so players really shouldn’t be agreeing to the trade of large sums of gold for extremely rare mounts anymore.

Obviously we do not wish to cast aspersions on everyone who might be offering these types of items for sale, but please bear in mind that the physical Loot Cards themselves sell for reasonably substantial amounts of real cash, so it’s extremely unlikely that you’d be able to purchase the in-game code for a few thousand gold!

Please try not to fall for any of these types of scam – we will attempt to assist where possible, and these are scams, but that shouldn’t negate the extremely high risk associated with the supposed(!) sale of anything this rare.
“Scams” that break the Terms of Use

Official Terms of Use Agreement

Here we enter into rather important territory – the following three types of ‘scam’ are scams regardless of whether the individuals offering them stick to their side of the bargain, and you are welcome to report them to us, even if it’s just an advertisement in the Trade channel.

    Casinos
    Gambling is not only against the Terms of Use, it’s also illegal and carries strong age-restrictions in various countries in Europe to which we provide World of Warcraft. Players running such schemes, while they may not even be attempting to scam others, are effectively breaking the law and should be reported as such.

Reminder: Real vs. Virtual Transaction Policy

    Game-time cards
    A game-time card is a real world item, purchased for real money, and as such the sale of these within the game environment (and for in-game currency) is explicitly against the Terms of Use. Not to mention that many of these proposed sales carry a huge risk of you being given a string of gibberish numbers that won’t provide you with game-time for anything at all!

    Pet and mount codes from the Online Store
    This one carries the same warnings as for game-time cards, except that there is also the additional chance that, even if your (illegally) purchased code appears to work, the player ‘selling’ you his code will then cancel his payment, chargeback the codes, and you will then be left with nothing to show for your in-game gold.

Please Note: By taking part in any of the above schemes, you yourself are also breaking the Terms of Use.

This means that, while we will always continue to take the appropriate action against any player reported for carrying out these types of scam, we do not guarantee any kind of restoration of any gold or items lost as a result.
Guild Bank Theft/Scams

To a greater extent, we believe that it should be the responsibility of the Guild Leader to ensure that only the appropriate members of their guild have access to the guild bank, thus rendering thefts and scams of this nature far less likely.

However, there is, of course, a potential for guild bank scams involving an individual, usually one totally un-associated with the guild in question, posing as the alt of the Guild Leader or one of the officers in order to gain an invite to the guild (and the appropriate levels of guild bank access). While this sort of situation is preventable to some extent, it is still very much a scam and we will look to investigate such an incident.
Loot Scams

This isn’t something we wish to concentrate on in any particular detail in this “Spotlight”, as we hope that the recent changes to our “ninja” looting policies have already been publicised enough in recent weeks and months.

    ”Ninja” looting
    If you wish to read more about our recently updated policies regarding “ninja” looters, please read through our specific Spotlight dedicated to this very topic;

    Policy Spotlight - “Ninja Looting”

    Looting Methods Created by the Community
    As a side-branch from “ninja” looting, we enforce a similar policy to looting methods created by the community (GDKP, EPGP, etc.) While we do not officially recognise such practices, we understand that these raids can be extremely popular with players and would like to provide the same level of appropriate protection when the individual in charge of loot and gold distribution has defrauded their group out of any explicitly promised spoils.
NOT Scams


Below are some examples of agreements and practices that we do not consider to be scams, and you should please avoid reporting such issues to the in-game support team.

    Gold Loans
    If you wish to arrange for the loan of gold between you and another player, this is entirely up to you.
    We will not be able to interfere at any stage however, even if one of you fails to hold up your end of the original bargain.

    Cross-realm Trades/Cross-faction Trades
    This is not something we support in any shape or form and, if you engage in such practices, you run a huge risk of being scammed out of your hard-earned items or gold.

    Auction House Pricing
    We understand that it’s very possible to make an error and fail to notice that a certain item has been priced far above its real worth. Please remember, however, that the Auction House is inherently designed to be a system that allows players to place items up for sale at any price they wish.
    As such, we would recommend that you take great care when searching for items or making purchases, as errors of this kind are unfortunately not something that our in-game support team are able to assist with.

    Mistaken Trades or COD Mails
    As with the above point, we realise that mistakes do happen, but we’re also not able to step in on every occasion.
    If such a situation has happened to you, it’s always worth trying to speak to the other player and appealing to their better side – they certainly weren’t setting out to scam you, and have only become the inadvertent beneficiary of your error.
Avoiding being the victim of a Scam

There are some excellent tips regarding avoiding becoming the victim of a scam on our official Scam Policy page on our Support site;

Official Scam Policy page

The best piece of advice, however, is to always be as careful as possible with your in-game properties – you’ve taken the time to earn them, and there are many potential thieves out there (just as there are in the real world also).

    Some simple DOs and DON’Ts

      • Do try and go to friends or guildmates as much as possible when you need items crafted – you’re more likely to trust them, and they might even help you out for cheaper than someone you don’t already know!
      • Do ensure that your guild permissions are fully up-to-date, and that you confirm any new invites into your guild.
      • Do always check the price of anything you purchase on the Auction House – once bought, there are no refunds!
      • Don’t hand over any gold or items to anyone that you don’t trust.
      • Don’t engage in any suspicious trades, sales or schemes – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
      • Don’t participate in any of the scenarios listed in our “Scams” that break the Terms of Use section.
      • DON’T give out your account information. Not to anyone. EVER.
Reporting a Scam


"After all that, I’ve been scammed!"
    So, you read everything but it’s unfortunately happened anyway, and you’ve been scammed. Does your case fall under any of the categories listed above? If so, then please do submit an in-game help petition to us immediately.

    You should make sure that your ticket includes at least some, if not all, of the following information;
      • the name and realm of the character that scammed you
      • the time at which the incident took place
      • what the original agreement was
      • what you were scammed out of
      • and you can also include any other additional information that you feel is important

    Please do not come straight to the forums and post a thread containing all the above details – this is not the appropriate place to report such behaviour, and we will then be forced to edit all the specifics out of your thread before telling you to send in a ticket anyway!

"So, what happens to the scammer now?"
    Our in-game support team investigate every scam report we receive, and take the appropriate action against any individuals confirmed as having carried out one of the above scams. Unfortunately, for privacy reasons we can’t then provide you with any particular details about this, so please don’t ask!

    Rest assured that we don’t appreciate scammers any more than you do however, and as long as we’re able to prove that a scam has taken place then we’ll ensure that the person in question will receive their comeuppance.

    This may include one or more of the following;
      • a warning being placed on their account
      • a temporary suspension from the game
      • removal of the scammed gains

"Will I get my items back?"
    While we guarantee that we take all reports seriously, we unfortunately can’t guarantee restoration of any lost gold or items. We will of course try our best to do so, barring cases of the scams in the “Scams” that break the Terms of Use section, but please understand that there are situations in which this won’t be possible.

    Please also bear in mind that we are not here as a safety net for players who repeatedly engage in dodgy transactions and suspicious trades – if you continue to be scammed on a regular basis, or multiple times in the same way, it may become clear to us that you’re not attempting to learn from your mistakes and at that point we may no longer be able to continue providing you with restorations.
Disclaimer


Final Note: We understand that there are still a whole plethora of other potential scam situations that may not have been listed in one of the two sections (‘Scam’, or ‘NOT Scam’) above.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you believe you have been deliberately mislead, or stolen from in some way, it is still worth submitting a ticket to our in-game support team. Ultimately, we’re here to protect and help you guys out, so while we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to assist in any specific situation, we will at least consider any reports outside of the above on a case by case basis.
Feedback!


Hopefully this “Spotlight” has been a good source of information and helpful advice, and we’ve been able to clear up a few points of policy along the way, but now it’s your turn!

    Is there an area that you feel we don’t currently help out with when we should?
    Are some of the policy points still unclear?
    Do you have any suggestions for how we could better prevent in-game scamming altogether?

Please feel free to post with any comments, questions or feedback that you may have – we’ll be collecting them all, as well as responding where necessary, and we appreciate your thoughts. :)
Reserved
hi got a scam email from this email address just let u know
wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com
Greetings!

It has come to our attention that you are trying to sell your personal World of Warcraft account(s).
As you may not be aware of, this conflicts with the EULA and Terms of Agreement.
If this proves to be true, your account can and will be disabled.
It will be ongoing for further investigation by Blizzard Entertainment's employees.
If you wish to not get your account suspended you should immediately verify your account ownership.

You can confirm that you are the original owner of the account to this secure website with:
<snip>
Login to your account, In accordance following template to verify your account.

* First and Surname
* Secret Question and Answer
Show * Please enter the correct information

If you ignore this mail your account can and will be closed permanently.
Once we verify your account, we will reply to your e-mail informing you that we have dropped the investigation.

Regards,

Account Administration Team
Blizzard Entertainment
<snip>
World of Warcraft , Blizzard Entertainment 2010

thans again


Edit: Snip snip.
Wow, our old Spotlights are popular today!

Thanks a lot for your post Boathed, we really appreciate it. However, while this certainly is a 'scam' of sorts, this particular thread is devoted to in-game scamming. We actually have a dedicated thread all about fake email scams here;

Fake or ‘Phishing’ E-mails from Blizzard
http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/900641151

Be sure to check it out some time.

Have a nice day and a great new year!
From my previous thread:
Since the beginning of Cataclysm, each guild has had the opportunity to gain a huge amount of gold from the dungeons, raids, common looting during leveling in dailies and soon the Guild Challenges. However, I have seen quite a few guild masters take advantage of their new wealth and spend it on themselves to get new mounts, BOE epics, and Epic flying training. I think that the Guild Master as head of the guild should be entrusted to hold on to the fruits of their guildmates labour. I personally feel that the Scam Policy does not do enough to cover the lower ranked guild members.

Therefore, I propose the developers along with players and Game Masters review the Scam Policy since the Cataclysm has brought major changes to not only the way the guild earns gold, but how they spend it. I feel that the scam policy does an excellent job at keeping people from taking everything in the guild bank and running, but it does not prevent large amounts of gold and items to be taken out by guild masters since it is technically 'their' gold.

One such amendment, we can make is to make the guild its own functioning entity so a guild has its own money, like a business.
Today got "scammed". As having big financial problems, can't afford to buy cata expansion and wanted to trade in-game for cata key. Player provided first 4 lines for half prize, making trade more reliable and second half for other part of key. Key appeared to be invalid. I know, its against to Terms and Plicies, but what to do, if i'm in such problems that can't afford game. And what to be done to "scammer". Is there any way to get money back. It's complicated :(

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