With a new dupe allegedly going on in World of Warcraft regarding Trading Card Game pets and mounts, causing the items to be more accessible to players, in both amount and price, we have decided to write this article of tips of how to avoid getting scammed in World of Warcraft. However, while at it, we will try to cover a few more subjects that could possibly lead you to getting scammed, that don’t really come down to pets or mounts.
1. TCG pets and mounts scams
Scams regarding TCG items are split in two categories: fake codes from card games and duped items.
Fake TCG codes
Basically, fake TCG codes are pretty much self-explanatory, meaning they are totally made up codes to trick you into believing they are legitimate, when they’re not. Now, first of all, our personal suggestion is to ignore ANYONE who is trying to sell you an “unscratched TCG item” in-game. It doesn’t even make sense, why sell a code in-game, when you can basically claim it yourself and sell it though the Auction House or even face-to-face trade. Most of the scammers will say some stuff like “Yes, but I don’t wanna claim it on this server because if you don’t buy it, I will sell it for a higher price on X realm”, etc – which obviously is baloney, and even for the sake of it, assuming it’s not, it still doesn’t make sense.
Note that many of these scammers will go out of their way to make themselves looks legit, asking for your Skype ID to provide you with pictures, live webcam and what not – don’t fall for it. In fact, I remember an old picture of the TCG Spectral Tiger mount, such as the one in the image, that used to be part of pretty much any scam attempt, and even part of “scamming guides” on some forums. Now, while that image and this one might be real and legitimate, it doesn’t mean that the person you’re trying to buy from has it, or even if he does, it won’t mean he will actually hold his part of the deal.
If anyone provides you with some image of a TCG item and claim they took it just now, you should, just for the sake of it, do a reverse image search on a website like TinEye and just see if any other matches come up – if they do, it means that most likely the picture is not his and was taken from somebody else, but if it’s not, it also doesn’t mean that he actually owns the card.
Now, assuming you have found the deal of your life, and someone who really seems legit to you wants to sell you this card (and for some reason, not the actual in-game mount), this is what you want to do in order to be safe:
- Do NOT pay first, regardless of what he says;
- Keep all the chat in-game, regardless of him being “tired” of typing, just as evidence in case you get scammed and Blizzard might be able to help you, you’ll need to have the entire chat within the game, so they can look over and see that you’ve been a scam victim;
- Don’t fall for any kind of dramatic story they make up how they were scammed already a few times and don’t want to trade the item first. These players will most likely be level 1, while you’re probably at max level, in some sort of decent guild, with a long history of your account, a player who wouldn’t simply vanish off with the card and will hold their part of the bargain;
- Do NOT accept to pay ANY amount of gold up-front – believe it or not, a lot of people fall for this trick. Nothing until you get the code, claim it and own the item;
- Don’t get intimidated by their negotiating techniques like them claiming they’ll walk away or having another customer who would pay double, trying to rush you into making your decision.
Duped TCG items
This is not technically a scam, we’ve decided to include it here since it’s basically a trade done with indifference or even ill-will, at the cost of your own account.
While yes, these items are “virtual tangible goods”, in the sense that you can “put your hands” on them in World of Warcraft, they can be even more risky than the fake TCG codes. We’ve seen a lot of players getting permanently banned for purchasing pets and mounts from other players who were selling them in-game, on Trade chat. Our advice is that, if you can recognize a duped item, you should walk away from it, because it you’re unlucky, you might end up banned. Of course, ban cases are pretty rare, but still, if you don’t think that such a deal is completely worth it, don’t do it.
In a order to spot a duped item, here’s a list of the criteria such an item will meet:
- Extremely cheap price comparing to the same already existing items (pets, mounts, tabards, etc.) on the Auction House / Trade;
- Huge spike in the amount of such items being on the market;
- Constant level 1 players advertising to sell them on Trade;
- Poor English skills of the seller (most of the time);
- Bundle deals of the same item (3 for the price of 2).
Now, it’s not always that Blizzard has taken action regarding players who purchase these items in-game, especially the ones who are not aware of buying duped items, but most of the times when they do, they will simply remove the item completely from your account, leaving you without the acquired item and of course, without the gold you paid for, since neither Blizzard nor the seller will give you a refund. Ban cases are more rare, and most of them happen when a player abuses these kind of deals (not duping items himself, but buying them while knowing they were duped).
We recommend that such trades be done only via the Auction House. If you see an item already listed there for a cheap price, you’re safe to buy it. However, Blizzard might still remove it at some point, but at least the chances of being banned for that are little to nothing.
2. Getting scammed for selling gold
While we never encourage anyone to sell or buy gold in World of Warcraft, a lot of people do, for various reasons, but we’re not here to judge them. What you need to keep in mind while selling or buying gold is that besides the obvious risk of being scammed, there’s also a huge risk of getting banned, so you’ll need to try and dodge two bullets at once.
As a disclaimer, this section should not be used under any circumstance as a guide to sell gold and avoid getting banned, but merely as a few tips on how to avoid getting scammed in World of Warcraft.
If you’re planning on selling gold to a related website, you’re pretty much safe scam-wise, but you should however do a little background check on them on Google and see if there’s any scamming feedback going on there.
If you’re planning to sell gold to a person whom you’ve never spoken to before, there are several critical things you need to do:
- Verify his reputation on the forum / chat you met him, or even guild (if you found him in-game). Check out his previous trades if the forum provides such information, his background history on the website or game (the more achievements / current heroic bosses killed – the better);
- Look up his Skype ID on Google. Use specific Google query searches for more accurate information, such as “site:forum.com intext:SkypeID ” or simply ” intext:SkypeID ” with his Skype ID, mail or forum username;
- Always ask for him to pay up front, and if transaction is conducted via PayPal, ask him to pay you as a gift;
- Now, I’ve seen this issue happen multiple times, where the seller had no problem paying up front and as a gift, simply because he had a stolen PayPal. Once you get the money, PayPal will eventually put it on hold and you’ll end up without the money, even if he won’t dispute it or claim a refund (refunds are not available if paying as a gift). What most people do is that they have an unverified PayPal account on which they receive the initial money, and then transfer it to their main account, but let’s hope you won’t have to do any of this;
- As a bottom line hint, if he is willing to pay a huge amount of money for the gold and if his background doesn’t check out or doesn’t provide enough legit information, he will most likely scam you given the chance, therefore you should walk away from that deal.
3. In-game casinos scams
The way gold casinos work is that let’s say, the owner comes with a set of rules like these – minimum entrance bet is 100 gold; if you roll (simply by using /roll in-game) between 1 and 70 – you lose; if you roll between 71 and 90 – you get twice your money back and if you roll between 91 and 100, you’ll get three times your money back. I know, they sound like fun and entertaining, but that’s only if you don’t care about losing gold, or if you’d know for a fact they are 100% legit. We’ve seen lots of people growing more attached to playing and winning small amounts, then betting more and ending up winning, but instead of getting their prize money, the casino owner simply logged out and deleted that particular level 1 character, after transferring the gold to an alt. Regardless of what evidence you have against them, Blizzard is unable to help you get your money back, but they might however ban the scammer.
Now, when it comes to buying gifts which could contain rare pets or mounts, it’s pretty much the same thing. As an example, take a look at this guy.
Bottom line is, don’t take part in such random in-game casinos, unless maybe it’s some guild event or you’re playing with your friends, which is also somewhat allowed by Blizzard as well, as long as it’s a closed circle of people and you’re not advertising for it.
4. Getting scammed while buying game time
Purchasing game cards or simply game time (Recruit a Friend, 1-month account payment, etc.) can be pretty dangerous, both scam-wise and account-wise. Both these risks come at once, meaning you can end up scammed and banned.
A lot of people purchase game cards, Recruit a Friend game time months, Blizzard store gifts or even allow the seller to log on their account and purchase a month with his own credit card or PayPal, not knowing how exactly such a deal is done. Up until recently, a huge amount of players used to buy Recruit a Friend game time for a small amount of gold, and some of them still do, even if they will most likely end up with the game time removed and even with a suspension placed on the account.
While yes, some sellers are actually legitimate and actually do provide you with a real game card or store gift code, most of them are not. The main difference between these two kinds are the prices. The legitimate one will always ask for a higher price, since basically what they do is sell you a $30 worth of a 2-month game card for let’s say 50.000 gold, which they will later sell for let’s say $40-50, giving them a profit. Meanwhile, the not so legit ones, sell you the very same products for a lot less, simply because they either use stolen credit cards or PayPal accounts to purchase the goods, or because once they purchase something and you add it on to your account (this way making sure it works), they will simply chargeback the money, which will lead you to ending up without the gold you paid and the game time removed from your account, let alone any suspensions that might come with it.
So, bottom line, assuming you really can’t afford buying it straight from Blizzard, you should try to find an actual player in need of gold which can buy a game card for you, and I’m not talking about the level 1 ones advertising on trade, because they’re just as the latter mentioned above.
5. RBG or Arena carry scam
While this also isn’t technically and exploit, it’s just as likely to make you end up without your gold / real money and even your account. Again, we do NOT encourage any player to purchase RBG or Arena rating carry, but if you decide to, you’ll be doing it at your risk.
There aren’t any tips at all to be given here, but just wrote this section as a helpful tip after seeing an increased number of customers reporting permanent bans as a result of buying RBG or Arena carries, and even a bigger number of customers which ended up with their entire purchased rating down to 0. Yes, Blizzard will reset your rating to 0 and if you’re unlucky, they will also permanently ban you.
However, if you really want to purchase such services, we recommend you opt for the “self play” kind of deal, as seen on various related websites, where you’re allowed to play your own account while being carried in RBG or Arena. Of course, it’s cheaper for you and more easy for them if you choose the package where one of their employees play your account, but that will most likely lead you to 0 rating and probably getting banned. Some websites even claim that their employees will use a VPN with your country’s IP in order to trick Blizzard into believing it’s actually you playing, but… oh well. 🙂
6. Scammed by e-mail or by someone impersonating a GM
Now this one is one of the most common and old attempts of scamming World of Warcraft accounts, but unfortunately it still renders a lot of players scammed. Basically, what you need to know about any of such attempts is that if somebody in-game contacts you regarding some sort of Blizzard contest and provides you with a website or asks for your credentials, it will ALWAYS be a scam attempt. Just look at the picture, it’s clear that they don’t even bother too much anymore. I mean, look at this douchebag in the screenshot above, he’s got the imagination and English skills of a baboon.
As far as mail scamming attempts go (phishing), these can go anywhere from some sort of fake mail claiming that your account has been suspended to you receiving a gift, game time, invitation into the BETA, etc., all of them having as a result you clicking on what appears the official Blizzard website, only to actually fall for a hidden redirect to their fake Battle.net look-alike website and enter your credentials, making them gain access to your account. Regardless of how legit the mail seems to be, always mouseover the link without clicking it and check if the URL is to Battle.net.
We have covered this section more in-depth in this article, should you wish to read more.
If you find this post useful, share it your friends so they’ll also know how to avoid getting scammed in World of Warcraft!